McConnell puts balanced budget amendment in motion, some say it’s not enough

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky began Wednesday the procedural process necessary to put a balanced budget amendment on the Senate’s legislative calendar.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia also promised to hold a vote on the amendment.

“Two weeks ago, leadership rolled their eyes and almost scoffed at the notion of the balanced budget amendment,” said freshman Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois in a recent conference call. “Leadership is taking this concept more seriously. Each and every day we’re getting more positive signals from leadership,” said Walsh.

“Do they love the idea? Probably not,” the congressman added. “But they’re getting more resigned to the fact that without this […] there are going to be a number of us who simply will not vote to raise the debt ceiling.”

But while all Senate Republicans joined in support of McConnell’s announcement Wednesday, some are taking McConnell’s extended olive branch with a level of frustration — that the party is playing of a weak card when stronger options should be on the table going into negotiations with Democrats.

One GOP source on Capitol Hill told The Daily Caller there’s been a push among the conservative wing of the Republican caucus for McConnell to tie the balanced budget amendment to a vote on the debt ceiling.

(Romney backs ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’)

“There have been attempts to communicate that with leadership, certainly at the staff level,” the sources said. “That would be a very strong hand to play.” But, he said, “there is no appetite to do that in the leadership.”

“We have asked the leadership, ‘Okay, what hand do you want to play? Why not play the strongest hand and tie the balanced budget amendment to the debt ceiling?’ the source told TheDC. “The response has been unsatisfactory.”

Walsh, who sponsored the amendment in the House, also signed the “Cut, Cap and Balance” pledge vowing not to vote to raise the debt limit unless spending is cut and capped and the Constitution is amended to require a balanced budget.

As the August 2 deadline looms nearer, the strategy of the more conservative wing of Republican members on the Hill is clear, though it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it can be accomplished.

More moderate, rank-and-file Republicans still need to be convinced to sign the pledge and moderate Democrats still need to be won over. According to proponents of the pledge, the  balanced budget amendment is crucial, as it is the only way to tell the public that lawmakers are working on a long-term solution and not just a short-term deal.

“There’s some trepidation,” said Walsh, when asked about his conversations with Republican colleagues. “[S]igning this pledge – it’s almost a blood oath.”

(Obama chides GOP for not giving up ‘sacred cow': raising taxes on wealthy)

But while the pledge continues to make its way through the halls of Congress, there is a general uneasiness among the freshman lawmakers that their representatives in the debt limit talks — Boehner and McConnell — will not negotiate an acceptable deal.

“The Democrats are digging up everything to throw in the negotiating box,” the GOP source told TheDC. “They are walking in with a huge chunk of demands, and we’re not going to have any.”

In the conference call, Walsh voiced similar concerns, and said he is especially worried about last-minute maneuvers.

“I’m not optimistic about what’s being crafted right now behind the scenes,” said the congressman. “Even though I think the leadership understands how important permanent change is, their heart is still not into it, and they are probably going to craft a deal that certain members will not be happy with.”

“The fear is we’re not going to know what [the leadership] is negotiating for,” said Hill GOP source. “We need to know what the ask is. We need something very strong going into negotiations and the process needs to be transparent.”

A spokesperson for McConnell declined to comment for this story.

  • joeaiello

    Mitch McConnell is completely corrupt. His pockets and the pockets of most Republicans are lined by big business. Anything, and I mean anything, he does to balance the budget will be at the expense of our working middle class. He will give big oil subsidies and give billionaires tax cuts at the expense of gutting Medicare and raising our retirement age. Thats what he’s stating and you won’t see it on the “Fake News Channel”, Fox News, because they don’t give a damn about our middle class!

  • MegaGorgo

    Gotta love how the corporate right seems to forget that in any household you need to cut spending and have income. You need a new roof you work extra or charge more. At the US level that means taxes are used to fund government functions. Now here’s an interesting statistic. ICorporate tax revenue in 2009 came to just 1 percent of gross domestic product. Slightly more in 2010.. That is chump change. Here’s an example In 2008, according to the IRS, 10 million working people filed tax returns reporting incomes between $30,000 and $40,000. Their effective tax rate: 6.8 percent. Let’s compare that to Carnival Cruise Lines which earns more than 2 billion a year on average for the past 5 years. Their effective tax rate is about 1.4%. Would be nice if Carnaval paid what the REST of us paid. Maybe then the REST of us could pay less.

    • minicapt

      As a member of the Welfare left, do you often mix up your fingers while counting?


  • snowshooze

    Offer only the Balanced Budget.
    No debt ceiling increase.
    We sent them to play hardball. No negotiations, no compromises.
    This is the only chance to kick them in the teeth, why throw it out?

  • StacyR

    This idiot couldn’t balance a budget if his life depended on it. This country is bankrupt. You can’t balance that. This country is fraud. It doesn’t work. That why you can’t balance the budget. How do you balance a budget on a ponzi scheme. You don’t. The scheme will wind down and eventually collapse. Wake up suckers. There’s nothing exceptional about a fraud.

    Memo to America: Stop waiting for Democrats and Republicans to save you. It’s bad
    for your health and your future.

    If you’re an American, you need to Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

    “Spread the News”

  • Kurtis D. Davis

    I take occasion to offer public thanks to the honorable Mr. McConnell, insofar as a balanced budget is concerned.

    As a people, we must recognize that no form of currency can maintain value, unless kept relatively scarce. If gold bullion were to become plentiful as sand, it would be just as cheap.

    A balanced budget amendment is a solid step towards achieving fiscal discipline necessary to proper management of a fiat currency.

    Please be reminded that the honorable Tom Coburn, and House Speaker Boehner are also offering excellent leadership regarding proper fiscal discipline.

    The issue is not about race or political affiliation. The fact is, our U.S. currency must be properly managed, or it becomes worthless.

    Thanks to Mr. McConnell, the honorable Tom Coburn, and House Speaker Boehner for excellent leadership. And thanks to the multitude of hard working people at Daily Caller, for an opportunity to share ideas.

  • rainmaker1145

    More theater of the absurd. The Tea Parties really blew it by backing the Republican Party instead of going their own way.

  • baal

    Why doesn’t Obama want a balanced budget?

    Is it that he wont be able to siphon taxpayers dollars off to give to his sugar daddy contributors anymore?

    Ladies and gentlemen–this issue is electoral death for Obama bc he HAS to veto it.

    • slinky

      Constitutional amendments bypass the president and go directly to the states for ratification.