Thursday, July 21, 2011
Utah 'Pre-Ratifies' U.S. Balanced Budget Amendment
Currently, 49 out of 50 states require either by state constitutional stipulations or other statutory means to maintain a balanced budget for their respective states. The push for a federal amendment to the Constitution has long been a pipe dream of many fiscally conscientious folks. Now that the U.S. debt is rapidly approaching $15 trillion and negotiations in congress to raise our debt ceiling yet again before the August 2nd deadline occurs, a critical part of Republican legislation offered in exchange for such spending increase authority is the passage of a federal balanced budget amendment. This is part of the G.O.P.’s plan to cut, cap, and balance the budget accordingly via legislation of that same name. Of course any amendment to the United States Constitution must be passed with at least a 2/3rds majority in both houses of congress and then be approved by at least ¾ of all state legislatures in the union. With the fiscal irresponsibility shown by our federal “leaders”, the time has seemingly now arrived when passage of such a bill is indeed finally a distinct likelihood.
The Utah House of Representatives passed their non-binding pre-ratification resolution yesterday for the U.S. Constitutional amendment by a 51 to 12 vote, while the Utah Senate approved it with only one dissenting vote, which was cast by Democratic State Senator Luz Robles of the Salt Lake District.
Coincidentally, it was the United States Senator from Utah, Mike Lee, that introduced the “cut, cap, and balance” act in the U.S. Senate after being approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by a 234 to 190 vote. Senator Lee authored, “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government,” and said that there are some members of Congress that are quite reluctant to support his amendment even though polls show wide public support for a balanced budget amendment.
When asked why, Lee said, “Because a balanced budget amendment would make politicians less powerful. It would make Congress as an institution less powerful.” Lee continued, “We need the balanced budget amendment to save the American people from this power. Every time we expand the power of the federal government we run the risk of interfering with the individual liberty of Americans.”
Mike Lee was the Tea Party candidate that upset former Utah U.S. Senator Bob Bennett in the G.O.P. primary last year. Bennett had drawn the ire of many fiscal conservatives within the state for his big government voting record and thus was challenged and summarily defeated for his seat in 2010. Lee has thus far proven to be a reliable conservative that has done what he had promised to do accordingly, including working with the other U.S. Senator from Utah, Orin Hatch, in trying to rally support for the United States Constitutional amendment for a balanced budget in the U.S. senate.
Utah’s state legislature’s pre-ratifying of this federal amendment will hopefully provide the impetus to the eventual passage by the U.S. congress and at least 38 other state legislatures accordingly. It would seem that only through constitutional means will the people of the United States be able to reign in the overspending by our elected officials otherwise.