We need a balanced budget, but even more simply, we need a budget. Congress’ recent tendency to operate without even passing a budget at all is entirely unacceptable. They must be held accountable. The text below is one idea for an amendment to force that to happen.
The federal government may not spend more than it actually received in taxes and other income during the previous fiscal year.
If Congress does not pass a budget before the existing one expires, they may not spend more than 95% of the income received during the previous year. For every month that passes, they must reduce the amount they may spend by 10% so that if the budget is two months late, they may only spend 75% of what they received the previous year. The Congressmen in the House or Houses that did not pass it shall also forfeit their entire salary and all benefits during the entire period between when the budget expires and a new budget is passed.
The portion Congress may not spend shall go directly to debt reduction or, if there is no debt, shall be distributed back to the states in direct proportion to their payments to the federal government to be used however each state wishes.
In the event that one or both Houses fails to pass a budget within three months of expiration of the last budget, no member of that House shall be eligible for re-election or to serve any further terms in Congress.
In the event that Congress goes more than one year without passing a budget, all members of Congress shall be removed from office effective the next election and not permitted to hold any elected federal office, including President and Vice President. For Senators who are so removed but who have only served less than their full six year term, their replacement shall finish that term and be up for re-election at the same time that the removed Senator would normally have been up for re-election.
In the event that both houses of Congress have passed more than one budget and the President has vetoed them, this shall be considered grounds for impeachment.
The next time the subject of a balanced federal budget (or the federal budget in general) comes up, what will you add to the conversation?