While you’re paying attention to something else, the House is voting on a Balanced Budget Amendment, the text of which is here. It’s milder than the BBA that was included with the final GOP version of the debt deal. That’s intentional. Part of the sale made on the compromise was a promise that John Boehner and leaders would campaign for the BBA, to win national attention and support.
Did they? Well, how much have you heard about the BBA since the debt deal? Boehner cut a video in support of it in July, and today, the Washington Times ran an op-ed by Boehner and other members making the case. That’s something, but it isn’t exactly a galvanizing national effort. And the big blah is happening even though this BBA doesn’t have the killer app of supermajority requirements for tax hikes.
Maybe there was only so much that Boehner et al could do. The debate so far in the House has been incredibly rote. Democrats attack the BBA for cutting the funds available to entitlements. “Social Security and Medicare will be there UNLESS we pass this Balanced Budget Amendment,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler. Freshman Republicans have taken the opportunity to make their own rote statements. “My constituents have a simple question for the people debating this issue,” said Rep. Cory Gardner. “What part of broke don’t you understand?”
The amendment needs 2/3 of members – 290 of them – to begin the ratification process. If it falls short, stick a fork in it – and if you’re a Tea Partier, add one more grievance to the GOP’s handling of the debt deal.
UPDATE: It failed, with only 261 “aye” votes to 165 nays. Four Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan, voted no. “I’m concerned that this version will lead to a much bigger government fueled by more taxes,” he explained to Fox News’s Chad Pergram.