Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Balanced Budget Amendments in U.S. Senate
November 29, 2011 - Posted by Ron Bigler
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is opposing efforts in the U.S. Senate to pass a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the Constitution.
Echoing arguments recently made to House members, Wade Henderson, president & CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference, today sent a letter to Senators Durbin, D - Ill, and Graham, R - S.C., stating that a BBA "would be disastrous for the economy as a whole and for the communities we represent."
A BBA would “require extreme spending cuts” even during periods of economic weakness and deny the ability of the federal government to enact “countercyclical policies right when they are needed most,” write Henderson and Zirkin. “As a result, the BBA would tip a struggling economy into a recession and keep it there for a protracted period of time.”
The letter also argues against language that requires a supermajority of both houses of Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit or increase revenues. The effects of these policies, Zirkin and Henderson warn, would be to force the government to make drastic cuts to vital programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits.
Passing S.J.Res.3, S.J.Res.23, or any other proposed balanced budget amendment, Henderson and Zirkin conclude, is a “recipe for making recessions more frequent, longer, and deeper, while requiring severe cuts that would harshly affect seniors, children, veterans, people with disabilities, homeland security activities, public safety, environmental protection, education and medical research.”
A recent vote on a balanced budget amendment in the House failed to get the two-thirds majority required for passage. Ahead of the vote, The Leadership Conference helped organize 275 national organizations in opposition to a BBA.
The full letter is below and available in PDF.