TITLE

Unbalanced

AUTHOR(S)
Beinart, Peter
PUB. DATE
May 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;5/26/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 20, p6
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
On March 4, 1997, the U.S. Senate voted on a resolution amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget every year. Every one of the Senate's 55 Republicans voted yes, and the bill garnered 66 votes in favor versus only 34 against. But, as a constitutional amendment, it required two-thirds support. And so it was defeated--having come up just one vote shy. A month later, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah took to the pages of Roll Call to vent his frustration. The Republican Congress, he wrote, had made a balanced budget amendment "our first priority" because "continued deficits would devastate future generations." But, this April, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the federal government would end the year $408 billion in deficit. Hatch's insistence that only a constitutional requirement could keep Congress and the White House from "spending our national inheritance" seemed relevant once again. But, despite repeated calls, Senator Hatch's press office didn't answer TNR's question. Here's one explanation why. On March 26, Hatch did something rather strange for someone dedicated to balancing the budget every year: He voted to cut taxes by $350 billion. (He had hoped to vote for the far larger $726 billion cut proposed by the president, but Senate moderates whittled it down.) According to the CBO, that proposed tax cut, if passed along with the rest of the Bush budget, would produce deficits of $1.8 trillion over the next decade.
ACCESSION #
9772464

 

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