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Balanced budget amendment fails in House vote.

In an extraordinary upset, efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget failed to gain a two-thirds majority in the House last Thursday evening. The failure appeared to doom chances of any constitutional amendment passing this Congress.

In what House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) called one of the most important votes of the year, the version offered by Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-Tex.) fell on a 280-153 vote, 11 votes short of the required amount to send the amendment to the Senate and the states.

The vote came after the House picked the Stenholm version as the best of 4 constitutional alternatives and after an extraordinary last ditch effort by President Bush to round up votes.

The Stenholm amendment, HJ Res 290, would have required that total spending not exceed total revenues, the President to submit a balanced budget, a three-fifths majority in each House on any bill or amendment which would cause a deficit, and a three-fifths majority in each House to increase the national debt ceiling.

The amendment was opposed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jun 15, 1992
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