Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Newly Elected Congressmen Lead Push for BBA

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Mike Lee, a Tea Party endorsee, is not planning on wasting any time in his position as Utah's newly elected Republican Senator. Lee asserts that of the many things the voters emphasized to him on his campaign trail was that they wanted to see Congress "balance the budget." He plans to do just that, and soon.

Lee told The Blaze, Its time for us to start transitioning from a kind of government we don't want at the federal level to the kind of government we do want, and this is the most important first step toward doing that.

As a member of Balanced Budget Amendment Now (BBAN), a grass-roots initiative launched on Monday that will fight for a Balanced Budget Amendment to be introduced in Autumn of 2011, Lee is working alongside Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

The Daily Caller writes, BBAN was formed out of Real Act, the 501C4 arm of the Renewing American Leadership organization, whose honorary chairman is Newt Gingrich and whose mission is to preserve Americas Judeo-Christian heritage.'

According to BBANs website:

You have heard all of the clichs: talk is cheap or they talk the talk, but dont walk the walk. Unfortunately, the first describes the lip service many in Congress give to a Balanced Budget Amendment. They claim to support fiscal discipline but refuse to change their big spending ways. The latter refers to many non-profit groups who support a Balanced Budget Amendment, yet have not aggressively demanded action or held Members of Congress individually accountable for inaction.

We are different, we are solely focused on passing a BBA now, we will not compromise our sole mission for some other legislative agenda priority. We want results now and will push for them now.

The group asserts, We are going to run a 50 state media and grassroots campaign that forces Congress to vote on October 1, 2011 for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

In order to institute its plans, the BBAN must gather 5,000-10,000 signatures and postcards from registered voters in every Congressional District, which will then be submitted to House members and Senators.

The Blaze reports, Starting in April 2011, the group will post a list on its website [names] of those who have pledged to vote for the amendment. For those who have not pledged, the group says it will double and triple our efforts to inform their voting public of their irresponsible behavior.

Several Republican Senators have already indicated their support for the BBA, including Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

BBAN also asserts, Those who vote against [the amendment] will be singled out and removed in 2012.

Furthermore, BBAN states that it will work with Congress to start a Balanced Budget Amendment Caucus in November 2010.

According to the Daily Caller, The Amendment envisioned by the coalition includes three pillars: ending the annual deficit by requiring a balanced budget, limiting federal spending to no more than 20 percent of the country's GDP and requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote in Congress to raise taxes.

The federal government is currently consuming more than 27 percent of the GDP, a number that continues to increase. With federal spending capped at no more than 20 percent of the GDP, federal spending would be limited to the postwar historical average over the last 65 years.

More than 80 groups have signed up to be part of the campaign for the Balanced Budget Amendment, including national groups like Americans for Tax Reform, Young Americans for Freedom, and a variety of local grass-roots organizations like Tea Party groups and College Republicans from across the country.

Lee adds, Americans understand that Congress has been mortgaging the future of future generations who in many instances are not yet old enough to vote. He contends, That's a form of taxation without representation.

According to a Washington Post poll, more than 60 percent of Americans are in favor of the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment.

During this years midterm elections, Florida voters approved a straw ballot to balance the United States budget without raising taxes by nearly 70 percent. According to the Miami Herald, The measure dovetails with a resolution the Legislature passed this year to make Florida the 20th state to call for a constitutional convention for the purpose of passing such an amendment. It requires 34 states to call a constitutional convention and 38 to adopt an amendment.

The referendum read, In order to stop the uncontrolled growth of our national debt and prevent excessive borrowing by the Federal Government, which threatens our economy and national security, should the United States Constitution be amended to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes?

It is the first time in Florida state history that a non-binding referendum appeared on the ballot.

However, not all organizations are onboard with the Balanced Budget Amendment, including The John Birch Society, which has been adamantly opposed to a BBA for over 30 years. Larry Greenley of The John Birch Society notes a variety of reasons for JBS stance: First of all, we think a BBA is a bad idea in itself because balancing the budget under a BBA would be accomplished by either raising taxes or by decreasing spending; however, the real goal should be to eliminate the unconstitutional spending by Congress.

He adds:

Second, since Congress has never had the necessary two-thirds majority in both houses to propose a BBA, a movement began in the 1970s to get a two thirds of the state legislatures to petition Congress to convene a constitutional convention (Con-Con) for proposing a BBA as provided in Article V of the Constitution; however, members of the JBS have been working closely with state legislators for about 30 years to convince them against calling for a Con-Con for any reason due to the risk of putting into motion an inherently risky constitutional convention process that could lead to bad amendments.

Tax increases, rather than spending cuts and tax cuts, are virtually a foregone conclusion under a BBA, as Congressmen of both Houses will undoubtedly face "emergencies" they feel they need to spend money on. Also, Congressmen can always resort to "off-budget" spending, meaning such an amendment will be easily bypassed.

For more information on the dangers of opening a Constitutional Convention, please visit

Photo of Mike Lee: AP Images

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