July 12, 2013

WV Sen. Manchin again sponsors balanced budget amendment | State Journal

As Congress continues to work toward a solution to the nation's fiscal problems, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has joined with other Democrats to introduce a balanced budget amendment.

The amendment, introduced July 11, is co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Jon Tester, D-Mont. The measure would require the federal government to balance its budget and restore fiscal responsibility while also directing Congress to balance the federal budget each year and mandate that federal spending not exceed revenues, with some exceptions.

Under the amendment, the balanced budget requirement could be suspended only if three-fifths of the members of Congress agree.

Manchin said he thinks most Americans would support the amendment because they have to manage their own finances with a balanced budget.

"Balancing our budget is simple common sense, and this constitutional amendment would ensure that we put our fiscal house in order," Manchin said. "With our nation approaching $17 trillion in debt, and growing by the day, it's time for the federal government to start living within its means.

"This is the kind of positive step that the people of my state and this great nation are so eager to see from Washington."

In 2011, Manchin voiced his support for a similar amendment. However, that amendment failed to pass the U.S. Senate when it came up for vote in December 2011.

According to information from Manchin's office, the amendment would:

Require Congress to balance the federal budget each year unless three-fifths of the Senate and House of Representatives vote to override the requirement;

Require the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress every year;

Allow spending to exceed revenues in times of declared war or military conflicts declared by joint resolution;

Protect the Social Security Trust Fund by exempting it from the scope of the amendment;

Prohibit Congress from providing income tax breaks for millionaires, unless the nation is running surpluses. However, those surpluses must also not be eliminated if such a tax break were enacted.