Before Leaving Congress, Goodlatte Will Again Attempt to Pass Balanced Budget Legislation

Apr 11, 2018

Credit AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

Since the Great Depression, budget deficits have been the norm in Washington. That’s created a federal debt north of $21 trillion dollars. Now, one Virginia congressman is hoping to change that.

Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Roanoke may be on his way out of Congress. But he’s hoping to leave behind a legacy of fiscal responsibility. This week, the House of Representatives will take up his Balanced Budget Amendment, an effort he’s tried unsuccessfully year after year. But Marc Goldwein at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says Congress should start by actually balancing the budget.

"Those that support a balanced budget amendment, what they really need to do is put forward a balanced budget," he says. "They need to put forward the tough choices on the tax and spending side to get us to balance rather than just talking about it in theory.

Michael Cassidy at the Commonwealth Institute says requiring a balanced budget every year would sabotage the economy, especially during downturns.

“The balanced budget amendment would raise serious risks of tipping weak economies into recession and making recessions more frequent, longer and deeper, causing very large job losses and hurting long term growth in this county.”

Even if Goodlatte is able to get the two thirds vote he needs in the House, the effort is likely to have a harder time in the Senate. Back in 1995, a similar effort passed the House but failed in the Senate by one vote.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.