U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was picked to give the weekly Republican address (see it here) and she used her 5-plus minutes to talk about the need for a balanced budget amendment.
The idea of a balanced budget amendment has been around for years (many states, Maine included, are required by statute to balance their budgets), but it has gotten new life in Washington, D.C. during the recent battle over spending cuts.
Snowe, who is up for reelection next year, said she has long favored a balanced budget at the federal level and believes Congress owes it to the American people to consider it.
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment by a 261-165 count, well below the two-thirds majority necessary.
The U.S. Senate has a vote on the amendment pending.
“The impending vote to amend the Constitution represents a choice between changing business as usual in Washington, or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford,” Snowe said in her address. “The status quo that has led to an inexcusable 950 straight days without passing a federal budget…the status quo that has brought us the first ever downgrade of America’s sterling triple-A credit rating…and the status quo that was exemplified by the so-called supercommittee’s inability to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.”