Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Balanced Budget Amendment fails in House

Today, a constitutional balanced budget amendment (BBA) (H.J. Res 2) failed in the House by a vote of 233-184, which required a two-thirds vote from both the House and Senate before being ratified by three-fourths of the states. The measure would have required the federal government to maintain a balanced budget, meaning the government would not be allowed to spend more funds than it collects.

The vote was split is mostly party lines with Democratic Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jim Costa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) voting in support of the measure, and Republican Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) against it.

The conservative-backed measure follows the massive tax overhaul passed by Congress late last year almost entirely in party-line and is expected to add an estimated $1.45 trillion to the federal deficit, as well as a March omnibus spending package with an overall increase of $138 billion in spending compared to fiscal year (FY) 2017.

Critics of the bill included the vast majority of Congressional Democrats and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who is retiring at the end of this year.

"Instead of doing the real work,” said Sen. Corker, “some will push this symbolic measure so they can feel good when they go home to face voters."

“House Republicans bringing up a balanced-budget amendment now is shameless. They just exploded our debt and deficits with more than $1 trillion of tax breaks for millionaires and corporations,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), ranking member of the House Budget Committee. “Now they’re trying to use a balanced-budget amendment to force massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs millions of families rely on.”

“If you were serious about trying to prevent a very dangerous and debilitating bankruptcy of the United States of America,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, who voted for the measure, “the votes were in February and March.”

NALC will resist any attempts by Congress to enact budgets that would target vital federal programs, federal employees, the Postal Service, its employees or its retirees.

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