I’m writing a bit more about the resurrection of the Balanced Budget Amendment today, but here’s one doom-worthy thing I noticed in research. The closest a BBA ever got to passage was the March 1997 vote. It fell just one vote short of passage, which would have sent it to the states. And the Club for Growth and some Republican senators have been saying that there are 20 current Democratic senators who’ve voiced some sort of support for a BBA. Forty-seven plus 20 equals 67!
If it sounds too simple, it is. Only 11 Democrats voted for the BBA last time, of which only four – Baucus, Harkin, Kohl, and Landrieu – are still in the Senate. The rest of the Dem “ayes” are either retired, defeated, or in the case of Joe Biden, promoted to a role where they can’t cast votes on bills that require supermajorities. And those four Democrats aren’t really interested in a new BBA.
“I’d recommend to the Republican Party and the Tea Party,” Landrieu told me yesterday, “just get about to balancing the budget, instead of talking about a Balanced Budget Amendment.”