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NRCC Challenges Chandler to Support Balanced Budget Amendment

Putting political pressure on U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., the National Republican Congressional Committee is challenging the central Kentucky lawmaker to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The new rule would require the federal budget be balanced and that the government cannot spend more than projected receipts and expenditures. The Republican-controlled House has pushed the measure as a way to limit spending and has scheduled a vote for November 14, but the language still hasn’t been finalized.

Over the summer, Chandler announced his “strong support” for a version of the measure as part of a coalition of conservative Democrats.

The GOP’s campaign arm is demanding the congressman vow to support whatever legislation comes out.

“Ben Chandler should provide more than lip service to his constituents on fiscal responsibility this week and let them know how he intends to vote on the balanced budget amendment next week,” NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay said in a news release. “Chandler should take action to right the Democrats’ wrongs after years of spending and borrowing that have left Kentucky families and future generations indebted to foreign countries like China.”

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Call For Balanced Budget Amendment Won’t Pass Kentucky House

A resolution calling for a constitutional convention to force Congress to approve a balanced budget amendment got a hearing in a Kentucky House committee, but that’s all.

No vote will be taken this session. The measure, similar to one approved by the Senate last month, is sponsored by Representative  Jim DeCesare of Rockfield.

“It specifically is limited to expenditures during a fixed time that do not exceed federal revenues or anticipated revenues, requiring bills to stick to one subject, and provide a minimum time for reviewing those bills before you vote on them,” he says.

At least 34 states would have to pass such resolutions before Congress could be forced to act. More than 20 states have acted so far, but each state’s resolution is worded differently.

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Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution Unlikely to Lead to Federal Action

The Kentucky Senate passed a resolution Tuesday calling for a constitutional convention on a balanced federal budget amendment. The vote was strictly along party lines, with one exception.

If Congress refuses to act on a constitutional amendment favored by the states, the states can force a constitutional convention. It’s never happened before, but U.S. Senator Rand Paul says it’s time, because Congress refuses to approve a balanced budget amendment.

“If we do nothing with spending, within a decade entitlements and interest occupy the whole budget. Think about that. The whole budget! No money for defense. No money for roads. No money for education. No money for anything if we don’t reform the system,” he says.

After listening to Senator Paul’s comments on the Senate floor, 22 Republicans joined the call for a constitutional convention. But Republican Senator Julie Denton joined the chamber’s 15 Democrats in opposing the resolution.

“I do have some concerns, as to what this could mutate into,” she said. “Congress now has the ability to limit its spending and it has chosen not to and I do have concerns about where this would go.  It’s going to pass anyway, but I doubt that it’ll pass in the House.  So I don’t know that it much matters, but I vote no.”

Two-thirds of the states pass similar resolutions to force congress to act. To date, at least 22 states have done so, but each state’s resolution is worded differently.

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Constitutional Convention Request Clears State Senate, Unlikely to Pass House

A resolution urging the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment has passed the Kentucky Senate.

Senator Rand Paul was in Frankfort Tuesday promoting the bill.

“If we continue upon this path of spending, within a decade, the entire budget will be consumed by entitlements and interest. That means no money for roads,” he says. “No money for education. No money for national defense. Entitlements and interest will consume the entire budget if we do nothing. We are on a path to fiscal ruin.”

The measure cleared the Senate 22-16, with Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville joining the chamber’s 15 Democrats in opposition.

The measure has also drawn opposition outside of the legislature. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth member Shekina Lavalle says Paul and others are demanding budget cuts while ignoring any calls for changes in how the government collects revenue.

“We do have huge deficits that we need to deal with and we do have budgetary and fiscal responsibility issues, but I think that we need to focus on what we want our communities to look like and really figuring out ways to support that, rather than hacking away at things,” she says.

The resolution now moves to the Democratic-controlled House, where it has little chance of passage. More than 30 other states would have to pass similar resolutions for the proposed constitutional amendment to go further.

Tony McVeigh contributed to this report

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Detractors Say Balanced Budget Amendment Is Misguided

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is in Frankfort to gather support for a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. Paul found support from some conservative state lawmakers, but others were on hand in opposition to the Senator remarks.

Among them was Kentuckians for the Commonwealth member Shekina Lavalle. She agrees that the deficit is a problem, but says Paul’s rhetoric on the topic is too strident.

“I heard ‘runaway freight train’ and these words that expressed that we’re out of control and we can’t reign things in—these really scary metaphors of where America’s headed,” she says. “I think America’s really resilient and I would like to hear my elected officials talk about the resiliency of the United States.”

Lavalle says her organization supports changing revenues through tax reform before drastic budget cuts. A state Senate committee has approved a resolution asking the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the balanced budget amendment. The full Senate will vote on the issue later today. More than 30 other states would need to approve similar action for the amendment to go forward.

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Senate Committee Approves Resolution Asking for Convention on Balanced Budget Amendment

A resolution urging Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment has cleared a Kentucky Senate committee.

The Senate State and Local Government committee, at the urging of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, voted 7-3 for the resolution.

“If we continue upon this path of spending, within a decade, the entire budget will be consumed by entitlements and interest,” Paul told the committee. “That means no money for roads. No money for education. No money for national defense. Entitlements and interest will consume the entire budget if we do nothing. We are on a path to fiscal ruin.”

In order to force Congress to act, two-thirds of the nation’s state legislatures would need to pass similar resolutions. A Senate floor vote on the resolution is expected later today, after Senator Paul addresses the chamber.