With tax rates falling, spending rising and deficits soaring, House Republicans dusted off a long-debated proposal on Thursday to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget — only to watch it fail.
The amendment was supported by 233 House members but opposed by 184 others, leaving it well short of the two-thirds support needed for approval under the Constitution. The amendment was almost certainly going nowhere, since it would have needed a two-thirds vote in the Senate as well, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states.
In the abstract, the vote on Thursday was an opportunity for Republicans in the House to demonstrate their concern for the government’s fiscal health, even if recent actions by their party suggest otherwise. But the symbolic move was derided on both sides of the aisle.
“It is an effort to fool the American people into believing that this Congress is financially responsible when quite clearly, based on the votes of the past year, it is wholly and completely irresponsible,” said Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, who nonetheless voted for the proposal.The six Republicans who voted no: Justin Amash (MI), Thomas Massie (KY), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Carlos Curbelo (FL) and Andy Biggs (AZ).
The seven Democrats who voted yes: Jim Cooper (TN), Jim Costa (CA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Ron Kind (WI), Collin Peterson (MN), Krysten Sinema (AZ).