Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hoyer: Balanced Budget Amendment Would ‘Make it Virtually Impossible to Raise’ Taxes


House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) said on the House floor last night that if the balanced budget amendment Republicans are supporting is ratified and included in the Constitution it would make it “virtually impossible” to raise taxes.

“In order to pay our bills, Republicans would require us to pass a Constitutional amendment that would permanently enshrine their partisan budget priorities in law and make it virtually impossible to raise revenue,” Hoyer said.

The push for a balanced budget amendment is part of the Republican Cut, Cap and Balance plan. This plan would increase the federal debt limit by $2.4 trillion in exchange for cutting federal spending by $111 billion next year and for congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment that, if ratified, would require supermajority votes in Congress to increase taxes, increase the debt limit, or spend more than 18 percent of GDP in a given fiscal year.

Hoyer was evidently alluding to the amendment’s requirement that taxes could only be increased with a supermajority vote of Congress when he said the proposal would make it “virtually impossible to raise revenue.”

Hoyer also said that the House Republicans were using the proposal to appeal to an “extreme fringe”

“When even three-quarters of Republicans said in a poll last week that they want a balanced deficit solution, it is clear that this bill is targeted at the extreme fringe in American politics, a small minority of the far right,” said Hoyer. “I urge my colleagues to affirm that this House represents all Americans--and to vote down this bill.”

The House passed the Cut, Cap and Balance bill 234 to 190. The vote was not along partisan lines. Nine Republicans voted against the proposal. Five Democrats voted for it.

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