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article imageReid: House bill on balanced budget amendment 'senseless'

By Michael Krebs     Jul 22, 2011 in Politics
After the Republican-controlled House submitted its debt ceiling bill tethered to a balanced budget amendment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised its demise in his legislative chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) characterized the debt ceiling bill that arrived in the Senate from the Republican-controlled House as "weak and senseless" and its balanced budget amendment at "radical" and vowed to see through its demise.
"Today the House will consider legislation that would force the nation to default on our financial obligations for the first time in history unless Congress adopts a radical, new constitutional amendment," Reid said during a Senate floor presentation on Thursday, according to The Hill.
Republican lawmakers have insisted that any debt ceiling increase be allowed only with notable spending cuts and without tax increases. House legislators crafted a bill that took this sentiment a step further, arguing for a balanced budget constitutional amendment. However, the balanced budget amendment has been soundly opposed by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.
While the prospect of default loomed large, a poll issued earlier this week by the Pew Research Center found that roughly 40 percent of Americans do not believe the issue to be an urgent matter.
"Four-in-ten (40%) say that, from what they’ve read and heard, it is absolutely essential that the federal debt limit be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid an economic crisis, while about as many (39%) say the country can go past this date without major economic problems," Pew Research Center reported.
President Obama has indicated a willingness to move forward on a debt ceiling agreement without an insistence on new tax revenue. Obama's potential compromise on this provision drew considerable concern from Democrats, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Senate plans to vote on the House bill on Friday, and it is widely expected that Senator Reid and his Democratic colleagues will not pass the measure.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) openly disagreed with Senator Reid on the House bill, according to The Hill.
“The American people sent us here to make tough choices," McConnell said. “Agreeing to balance the budget shouldn’t be one of them. This should be an easy one."
More about Harry reid, Senate, Balanced budget, Constitution, Debt ceiling
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