Pennsylvania’s junior senator is leading the charge for a proposed constitutional amendment.
Sen. Pat Toomey is introducing a bill that would require the federal government to balance the budget each year. But the proposal faces some tough hurdles.
Toomey may have negotiated a bill that has the support of all Republican senators–from the tea party to moderates. But, he’s also reckoning with more than budget numbers–67 senators must approve it and that would require 20 Democrats. Then it would go to the House, where it faces an even greater hurdle. After that, 38 states would have to ratify it.
Previous attempts at a balanced budget amendment have failed. But Toomey remains undaunted.
“Something like this is tough,” he acknowledged. “But I think it’s very, very important for the fiscal health of the country to put the federal government in a straitjacket so we can address the big challenges we face and get spending under control.”
Toomey’s amendment would prevent the federal government from spending more than it takes in. And spending would be capped at 18 percent of the gross domestic product–which equals what the federal government typically earns in annual revenue.