GOP Senators Agree to Push Balanced-Budget Amendment

Washington — GOP senators Hatch, Lee, Cornyn, Kyl, McConnell, Toomey, Snowe, Risch, Rubio, DeMint, Paul, Vitter, Enzi, and Kirk have agreed to cosponsor a revamped balanced-budget amendment. Sources tell National Review Online that leadership and members of the Tea Party Caucus are working together to hatch a floor strategy in coming weeks.

The amendment would require the president to submit a balanced budget that limits outlays to 18 percent of GDP. If passed, two-thirds of both chambers would need to approve a specific deficit for a fiscal year, with a majority of Congress needed to approve deficit spending during a declared war. On that note, three-fifths of Congress would need to approve deficit spending during military conflicts — “an imminent and serious military threat to national security” — and the deficits would be limited to “outlays . . . made necessary by the identified conflict.”

The BBA would also establish new supermajority rules for net tax and rate increases — two-thirds of both chambers. Raising the debt limit would require three-fifths of both the House and Senate, with only a majority during a declared war.

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the proposal.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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