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Byrne supports passage of a balanced budget amendment


The House of Representatives reportedly is considering scheduling a vote on a balanced budget amendment later this week. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said that he supports passage of a balanced budget amendment.

“I strongly support passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment,” Byrne said. “Since coming to Congress, I have introduced my own balanced budget bill to ensure the federal government does not spend more than we take in. I look forward to supporting this bill next week!”

Congress is reportedly going to vote on H.J. R. 2 sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatter, R-Virginia. The resolution requires that Congress not spend more than it receives in revenue. It also requires a true majority in both the House and the Senate to pass tax increases and a three-fifths super majority to raise the debt limit. H.J.Res. 2 is identical to a balanced budget amendment considered by the full House of Representatives during the 112th Congress.

“A balanced budget amendment has been one of the highest priorities of my tenure in Congress,” Goodlatter said. “A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget would finally bring discipline to federal spending and would benefit generations to come. I have demonstrated my commitment to fiscal responsibility by introducing constitutional amendments to mandate a balanced budget every congress since 2007. I commend the decision made by House leadership to bring H.J.Res. 2 to the floor for a vote. I challenge my colleagues in the House and Senate to do what is morally right and responsible by passing this amendment and sending it on to the states for ratification.”

Congress before the recess passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to fund the government to the end of the fiscal year, September 30. That appropriations bill dramatically increased defense spending. To get bipartisan support it also dramatically increased non-defense spending. Virtually every federal department received record appropriations for the 2018 fiscal year.

The Tea Party and other conservative groups strongly opposed the current spending levels. The vote in the House is seen as an olive branch to the Republican Party’s conservative base.

The measure is expected to be voted on on Thursday.

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According to “The Hill’s” Juliegrace Bufke, if the measure passes the House, it will be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate where Democrats control 49 of the 100 seats. Even if it passed the Senate, it would still have to be ratified by three-fifths of the state legislatures.

The federal government is spending $4.1 trillion. Of that spending, $1.17 trillion is on Medicaid and Medicare whose costs have soared. Social Security is the second most expensive item costing $965 billion. At the urging of the Trump administration, Congress has increased defense spending to $650 billion.

To balance the current budget, Congress would either have to cut $735 billion or find that much in additional revenues. The personal income tax is the federal government’s largest income stream at $1.65 trillion, followed by other federal payroll taxes (FICA being the largest of these) at $1.18 trillion, and the corporate income tax at $317 billion.

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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