One of the terms of the recent debt ceiling deal between Congress and the White House was that Congress would vote on, but not necessarily pass, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The deal did not, however, specify the language in the amendment, giving legislators plenty of opportunities to sneak in loopholes that might very well render any amendment that does pass meaningless.
One Senator, in fact, is doing just that. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has proposed an amendment with more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese — “the worst idea of them all,” according to Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania public-policy organization Let Freedom Ring. While Udall’s amendment does require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, it also provides Congress with several ways to skirt the same requirement for the budget it passes.
For instance, if 60 percent of both houses of Congress votes to override the balanced budget requirement for the current fiscal year, it’s a goner. (Hanna notes that this “effectively applies only to the House, since the Senate typically requires 60% for nearly everything already.”)
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Photo of Mark Udall: AP Images