After passing a nearly $2 trillion tax cut, followed by a $1.3 trillion spending bill, House Republicans are set to do the most transparently hypocritical thing they’ve done all year: vote on a balanced budget amendment, probably Thursday. Speaker Paul Ryan and team apparently feel the need to appease their restive deficit hard-liners—who all happily voted to pass massive tax cuts. Whether this vote will actually fool anybody, though, is in question.
House conservatives said voting on a balanced budget amendment could calm some of the ire, though the measure is not popular with everyone on the right, and it’s unlikely to pass the Senate.
“If lawmakers think they can use a balanced budget amendment as a fig leaf of fiscal responsibility after just voting for such an irresponsible spending bill, they should think again,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “Congress had an opportunity to exercise fiscal discipline, and they blew it.”
The bill, from Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, is a constitutional amendment that would say Congress can’t spend more than it takes in in federal revenue without a supermajority vote of three-fifths in both the House and Senate. It could balance the budget either through spending cuts or tax hikes. It also would prevent Congress from raising the debt ceiling without supermajority votes. The fact that it even mentions tax hikes is losing the maniacs outside of Congress.
Andrew Roth, vice president of government affairs for the Club for Growth panned it as “a way for Republicans and Democrats to tax their way out of all of this spending that they’re doing, rather than having hardwired spending caps,” and says that balanced budget “has to be solved through spending cuts.” Jenny Beth Martin, leaders of the Tea Party Patriots (yes, they’re still a thing), said that if Congress has the power to either increase taxes or raise the debt ceiling, that “may not actually prevent overtaxing and overspending the way that it’s being written.”
Because apparently running a government has to be done without any money. The teabaggers are pretty much the only people gullible enough to think this could actually pass both the House and Senate and be ratified by the states. All those folks will be thrilled to find out that it’s their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that would disappear if this thing ever passed.
That’s what this really is as Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi says, calling it “an act of breathtaking hypocrisy and an open assault on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.” A balanced budget amendment would open up those programs for destruction, which has been and will always be the holy grail for Republicans.