Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breaking: Cong. Joe Walsh's Naive Balanced Budget Amendment

Please tell me if this is good, bad or just ridiculous grandstanding. Freshman Congressman Joe Walsh, Republican of Illinois, today introduced House Joint Resolution 54 (H.J.Res.54), described in his press release as "a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution that provides a framework for putting our country on a path [to] economic stability." Okay, uh huh... That sounds pretty good to those of us who are in favor of economic stability, but I wonder if Rep. Walsh is aware of the fact that much of what has been done by both houses of Congress has been unconstitutional. My point is simple: We have a Congress that has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for the U.S. Constitution. Given that, what hope is there that (a) such a bill stands a chance of passing both houses of Congress or that (b) if his bill did pass and become part of the Constitution itself, that Congress would respect it any more than it respects the rest of the document. H.J.Res.54 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, Walsh's timing could not be clumsier. As the Congress is engaging in a budget battle that could shut down the Federal Government, his H.J.Res.54 only adds noise to the cacophony. It would have been better for Walsh to have waited until after the current fracas has resolved itself. The bill, and the timing of it and his press release, does nothing to further the current Republican efforts in Congress. The timing smells of opportunism and of a man desperate for attention. Have a look at Walsh's press release, and don't be afraid to chuckle out loud. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Elizabeth Lauten Thursday, April 7, 2011 (202) 225-3711 Congressman Walsh Introduces Balanced Budget Amendment “It’s time to bring our country out of the red” Washington, D.C. – As part of his ongoing effort to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington, Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) today introduced H.J.Res.54, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution that provides a framework for putting our country on a path economic stability. This amendment is the House-companion to the Senate amendment that all 47 Republicans unanimously introduced last week, which would require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress prior to each fiscal year. “The federal government cannot continue to burden our children with this crushing deficit,” said Congressman Walsh. “American families have been working through a recession for the past three years by spending less and saving more, yet the federal government continues to spend money it simply does not have. Congress has neglected the real root cause and continues to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.” “This amendment is the solution. If the average American family has to find a way to balance their checkbook each year and live within their means, there is no reason that the federal government can’t do the same.” “It was important to me that my first piece of legislation as a United States Congressman serves the American people by easing the burden of the government in their daily lives. A key provision to this amendment is to ensure that the budget is not balanced on the backs of hard working Americans, and thus H.J.Res.54 would require a 2/3 super-majority in both Houses for any tax increase.” “Most importantly, this amendment shows families and businesses across America that Congress is serious about stabilizing our economy long-term. It’s time to bring our country out of the red.” The Balanced Budget Amendment resolution features the following key provisions: • Presidential requirement to submit a balanced budget and Congressional requirement to pass a balanced budget; • Federal spending cap that Congress must limit outlays to no more than 18 percent of GDP, in line with the historical average of revenues over the last 40 years (this year, the federal government is projected to spend close to 25% of GDP); • Prohibits the courts from ordering revenue increases. ###