Balance Budget Amendment to be pushed in new Congress

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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When Utah Senator-elect Mike Lee arrives in Washington, he will push for a balanced budget amendment in the Senate, while simultaneously, a group called Balanced Budget Amendment Now will pressure Congress through a grassroots campaign that encourages voters to write to their senators and ask them to support the amendment.

“We have a draft already,” Lee told The Daily Caller. “It’s something that I intend to push.”

“The majority of states in this country balance their budgets every year,” Lee is quoted as saying in a BBAN press release. “Requiring Congress to do the same simply requires self-restraint, fiscal discipline, forethought and a commitment to follow both the roles and restraints outlined in the Constitution.”

BBAN launched with the sole purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment, which it aims to do by the start of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2011. In the press release, BBAN explained that this is its only purpose, and that the group “will not compromise our sole mission for any other legislative agenda priority.”

The group, led by Ken Blackwell, will ask voters to write to their representatives in Congress and ask them to support the amendment. According to the group’s website, the campaign will target specifically those elected representatives who have not already signed on.

Lee’s effort to push the bill from his position as a senator is not coordinated with BBAN’s grassroots campaign, though the two parties share the same goal.

The amendment will not deal with the mechanics of balancing the budget, or what in particular will be cut to do so. Lee says he does not feel that those specifics need to be dealt with before the amendment can be passed.

“I actually think the most important thing is to get people behind the idea, regardless of what the strategy might be for balancing the budget,” Lee said. “You draw a line in the sand saying we’re going to balance it.”