Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kansas congressional delegation votes yes on balanced budget amendment that fails in U.S. House

The Kansas delegation in the U.S. House is, from left, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, Roger Marshall and Ron Estes.

The Kansas delegation in the U.S. House is, from left, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, Roger Marshall and Ron Estes.

April 12, 2018


The four members of the Kansas delegation to the U.S. House, all of whom are Republicans, voted Thursday in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required the federal government to balance its budget each year.

The measure, however, failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority needed for passage. The final vote, 233-184, fell largely along party lines, but it was 59 votes short of the required supermajority.

Only six Republicans voted against the measure, while only seven Democrats voted in favor of it.

"As I’ve said previously, Congress’s budgeting process is profoundly broken and needs (to be) reformed to serve our nation better," 2nd District Rep. Lynn Jenkins said in a statement. "Until the process is reformed and Congress gets serious about addressing long-term mandatory spending programs, this path toward insolvency will remain. The balanced budget amendment is one way to force Congress to actually address the real drivers of our debt."

Jenkins has announced she is not running for re-election this year.

The proposed amendment would have provided that "(t)otal outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that year," unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate vote to approve the excess spending.

The limit would not have applied to money the federal government pays toward the principal and interest it owes on its existing debt, which now stands at more than $21 trillion, according to an organization called the National Debt Clock.

It also would have provided that the amendment could be waived with a simple majority vote in both chambers during any year in which a declaration of war is in effect, or when the United States is engaged in a military conflict that poses "an imminent and serious military threat to national security."

During debate on the measure, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., criticized that provision of the amendment, noting that the U.S. has been engaged in some kind of military action nearly every year since the end of World War II. Still, he ended up voting in favor of it.

Supporters of the measure argued that the growing national debt will pose a severe financial burden on future generations. They also noted that nearly all state governments operate under similar requirements for balanced budgets.

Many Democrats, on the other hand, criticized Republicans for even proposing such an amendment so soon after the GOP majority in Congress passed large federal tax cuts, followed by a $1.3 trillion spending bill for the current fiscal year, both of which, they argued, will create even larger deficits in future years.

Passage of the amendment, they argued, would force deep cuts in programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Before the vote, 4th District Rep. Ron Estes spoke from the floor of the House, saying the federal government still needs to rein in its spending, especially on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“Hard-working Kansans have to balance their checkbooks every month. I don’t think the federal government should get a pass," Estes said. "This proposal is a great start, but I’m also calling on the president and Congress to implement rescissions to our budget, which will work toward our overall goal of fiscal responsibility and stability.”

First District Rep. Roger Marshall issued a statement saying he was disappointed in the vote.

“I am not a career politician; my hospital and businesses always operated on a strictly held budget, we saved and we crunched the numbers,” Marshall, a practicing physician, said in the statement. “Many state governments, including Kansas, operate on a Balanced Budget structure. The federal government can no longer afford to act as if budgets don’t apply to them."

Third District Rep. Kevin Yoder did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.


Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Supply Side Economics is all about BIG DEBT. In fact Supply Side Economics cannot exist without big debt.

The conservatives are the most reckless tax dollar managers in the history of the USA. WE VOTERS must be careful as to how we view this vote on a "balanced budget amendment".

The right wing party posing as republicans have created a ton of debt over the past 38 years which includes Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations and make no mistake about it Trump is adding his share as we speak.

The right wing party posing as republicans apparently are not telling us how they would accomplish such a thing. Which makes them dishonest.

The right wing party posing as republicans apparently are trying to smear democrats and a few moderate republicans.

The government cannot balance its' budget the way so many homeowners do yet even that is not true. We buy homes, cars, large appliances, remodel our homes etc etc etc which can require some debt. Yes and those pesky credit cards which the financial industry makes it so easy for so many of us to acquire some debt.

Next time we hear "voters have to balance their checkbooks every month" from any politician that just might be the politician not to send back to live off our taxes.

Reagan/Bush were so eager to launch attacks on nations thousands of miles away and the Wall Street Banks were equally as eager to finance these wars under all administrations.

This "balance the budget political rhetoric" is really quite bogus.

When conservatives yell and scream about balanced budgets what they really want to do is kill Social Security Insurance, Medicare Insurance, Medicaid, Public Education, turn over our water supply to reckless corporations, turn the interstate highways over to corporations etc etc etc which would be a monster disaster.

Be thankful this nonsense did not pass. Our economies and our wallets are better off.

Steve Hicks 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Vote for, and celebrate the passage of, a "tax-restructuring" that sends the budget-deficit over a trillion dollars: and then vote for a "Balanced Budget" amendment...

How characteristically Republican. How cynically hypocritical.

But I repeat myself.

Steve Jacob 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This vote was a joke, they knew it would never pass. This was a cover your behind vote by the GOP because of the damage they did to our future with the tax cuts and the budget. They have made our future so much worse for a couple of years of gains.

Tom Weiss 1 month, 1 week ago

Yes these hypocrites will now tell us that they voted for a balanced budget and then they will hope that we do not recall that they voted for a spending bill and a tax bill that they knew would increase the deficit. The votes on those tax and spending bill tells us the Republicans' revealed preference; what they really do and believe in, rather than what they might do.

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