Udall backs balanced budget rule

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., wants the federal government to operate on a balanced budget, a sentiment that long has originated from the other side of the political aisle.

Udall is joining forces with Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., on a yet-to-be-introduced balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, Udall said Tuesday.

In short, the measure will require that federal spending can’t exceed revenues, except in cases of a war declared by Congress or on the vote of three-fifths of both houses of Congress.

“Our long-term economic health depends on it,” Udall said of balancing the budget, noting that only five times in the past 50 years has Congress approved a balanced budget.

Udall praised a Senate Appropriations Committee moratorium on legislation with earmarks for the next two years, citing it as an important step in reducing wasteful federal spending.

Building a balanced federal budget would “send a strong signal to the financial markets” and help prop up the national economy, Udall said.

There is no set schedule for the Udall-backed measure to be introduced, he said.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., whose 3rd Congressional District includes most of the Western Slope, has thrown his support behind a balanced-budget amendment proposal, H.J. 4. That measure also calls for spending to equal revenues and has a clause by which spending could be increased for war on the vote of three-fifths of each house of Congress.

A constitutional amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of each house and approval by three-fourths of the state legislatures within seven years of congressional action.


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