The House Republican leadership has decided to bring the so-called “clean” Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) up for a vote this week, despite all 47 GOP Senators and almost all of the coalition groups supporting the “strong” BBA. In a nutshell, the “clean” or “weak” BBA only requires a balanced budget. It places no caps on spending and would almost guarantee tax increases to balance the budget, because when was the last time you saw a politician willing to actually cut spending? The weak BBA would also allow judges to force Congress to raise taxes if the budget wasn’t balanced. Can you say activist judges?!
Word on the street is that Boehner and company has decided to go with the weak BBA because they can get Democrats to vote for it. But this makes no sense, neither policy-wise nor politically. The policy problem stems from the fact that this is an amendment to our Constitution and should make the country better – not worse – and it’s not something to take lightly. The weak BBA practically guarantees continued overspending, increased taxes, and hyper-activist judges. Is that what Speaker Boehner thinks will make the country better?
On the political side, it’s just as bad. This vote will give cover to fiscally irresponsible congressmen of both parties, while forcing true conservatives and fiscally responsible members to vote no, thereby making them vulnerable to attack ads during the election. Got that? Fiscally irresponsible members will get to run on “I voted for a BBA! I totally think the budget should be balanced!” next November. At the same time, the members truly committed to fiscal responsibility and limited government will be forced to vote against the BBA, opening them up to misleading attacks during the election. How much do you want to bet that the mainstream media will delve into the details of the BBA, explaining the nuances about why some people voted against it? Yeah… I wouldn’t bet a lot.
They know a BBA will never pass the Reid Senate, so why not pass the tougher BBA and make a stand? There are two reasons why Boehner isn’t going with the strong BBA. First, he is trying to get something through that looks as “bipartisan” as possible. Second – and this is even sleazier – Boehner is allowing the weak BBA to move forward because he personally doesn’t want a strong BBA. He is perfectly content with the size and scope of the federal government. He is not a fiscally responsible, limited government kind of guy. All you have to do is look at his district to see it’s filled with rent seeking industries that feed off of the federal trough. He is protecting himself and his big government friends in both parties, allowing them to put a notch on their “fiscal responsibility” belts just in time for the elections next year.
You see, while Boehner derides Obama for playing political games with his jobs bill, Boehner is doing the same thing with the BBA. It is sickening that they would be willing to play around with our Constitution like this, just for some political gamesmanship. A weak BBA now means that if Congress ever gets a chance to actually pass it through both chambers and there is a President that will sign it, it will most assuredly be the weak version. Once they put out the weak version, they won’t be able to go back to a strong one. Here’s an even scarier thought: what if the weak one passes through the House and the Senate… and then President Obama decides to support it as it heads out to the state legislatures for approval? He’ll get to run on being fiscally responsible while knowing that the weak BBA would allow him to push for increased taxes with renewed authority and credibility.
Call your member of Congress today and tomorrow and tell them you want a strong BBA, and tweet @SpeakerBoehner to tell him that the weak BBA is unacceptable.
Tea Party Patriots