Boehner Adds Balanced Budget Amendment To His Proposal To Win Over Hold Outs

The vote on Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt ceiling was delayed last night as a couple of dozen Republican hold outs refused to go along with it. Today the Speaker announces that he’s including the balanced budget amendment in the deal to sweeten the pot.

With the U.S. moving perilously closer to default on its loans to cover years of deficit spending, the majority leader announced his plan to cut $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade. At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner announced he would include a balanced budget amendment in his proposal, which appeared to earn him the support he needed from recalcitrant Republicans. …

Boehner’s new provision for a balanced budget amendment would appear to have been the sweetener needed to win over as many as two-dozen holdout Republicans who want greater cuts in federal spending before agreeing to hike the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

The latest text of the legislation is here, but what this adds is a requirement that a balanced budget amendment be not just voted on but passed by both houses of Congress before the debt ceiling is raised again.

Remember that Boehner’s plan originally called for the debt ceiling to be raised twice between now and the 2012 election. One roughly $1 trillion increase would take us through the latter part of next year, with a second increase needing to be approved then.

Democrats, including every single Senate Democrat, have said that they’ll oppose any plan that doesn’t delay the next debt cap increase until after the 2012 elections.

Boehner’s plan would still allow for at least $1 trillion in new debt before a balanced budget amendment is ever even voted on (and a BBA even after passing Congress, and presuming it would be signed into law by Obama, would take years to be ratified by the states) in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts most of which would take place years down the road.

It’s an ugly deal, but the BBA inclusion might just be enough to get it through the House. Though to what end, one wonders, with Democrats saying they’ll kill it.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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