House To Debate Balanced Budget Amendment

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The House of Representatives is set to debate this week a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget each year. It's part of the same mandate of this summer's debt ceiling law that more famously requires Congress to slash $1.2 trillion from the deficit or face automatic, across-the-board cuts.


On Capitol Hill, there is little sign that the supercommittee responsible for dramatically reducing the deficit will reach a deal by its deadline. That deadline is just one week and one day away. The 12 members of the bipartisan committee need to agree on a 10-year plan that cuts deficits by more than a trillion dollars. The supercommittee was created in a deal that upped the debt ceiling last summer. That deal also calls for both chambers of Congress to vote by the end of this year on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and the House takes that up this week. NPR's David Welna has more.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Congress has a long history of getting things done only at the last moment possible. Still, the task facing the 12 members of the debt reduction supercommittee - finding a combination of spending cuts and increased revenues that can also pass Congress - is unusually daunting. Little progress has been reported. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he and his fellow Republicans will hold a vote this week on a scaled back proposal for a balanced budget amendment, or BBA.

REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CANTOR: I will be voting for it because I do think ultimately the biggest check we can put on the government's unbridled spending is a forced balanced budget amendment like most states have.

WELNA: The House BBA bill no longer requires a two-thirds super-majority to raise taxes. Still, it's unlikely the measure will win two-thirds approval needed in the House, and a tougher version in the Senate stands even less of a chance. David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.

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