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It has been tried before:


"History shows that the potency of a balanced budget amendment attracts fervent efforts to confuse the issues, especially by creating counterfeit versions and exceptions to provide political cover. Proponents of a BBA should prepare accordingly.

If not for high-profile political defections in the mid-1990s, the BBA would have been approved by Congress. Had it then been ratified by the requisite three-fourths of the states, today’s debates over borrowing limits, entitlements, and spending levels would be greatly different, if not absent.

However, the versions considered in the ’90s were notably weaker than both the House and Senate versions of the BBA-plus now being considered. Had an earlier version been adopted, today’s debate might be about efforts by Congress to evade the spirit of the BBA by exploiting loopholes in that earlier version. This is why vigilance is necessary to prevent the insertion of loopholes into the language of a BBA-plus.

Those who do not learn from the failures of history are doomed to repeat them."

— The Honorable Ernest J. Istook, Jr.

Balanced Budget Amendment Mirroring 1995 Effort Fails to Get Two-Thirds in House


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