On January 6, 2009, as it has been proposed in just about every Congress since at least President Reagan, and perhaps before. H.J.R.1, bill for a Balanced Budget, was introduced in the House of Representatives. H.J.R.1 has 157 sponsors, mostly Republicans, as it usually is.
It would make an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the budget be balanced, like most states, to be balanced or a bill be passed by 60% of both the House and Senate.
Year after year it is rejected. What it lacks is what the Declaration of Independence calls "the consent of the governed". What it is missing is if there is not an 60% majority in both the House and the Senate, but has majority approval, that it be submitted to the People to vote on in a national referendum.
H.R.1. as it was submitted, without amendment, is as follows:
Section 1. Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific excess of outlays over receipts by a rollcall vote.
`Section 2. The limit on the debt of the United States held by the public shall not be increased, unless three-fifths of the whole number of each House shall provide by law for such an increase by a rollcall vote.
`Section 3. Prior to each fiscal year, the President shall transmit to the Congress a proposed budget for the United States Government for that fiscal year in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts.
`Section 4. No bill to increase revenue shall become law unless approved by a majority of the whole number of each House by a rollcall vote.
`Section 5. The Congress may waive the provisions of this article for any fiscal year in which a declaration of war is in effect. The provisions of this article may be waived for any fiscal year in which the United States is engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security and is so declared by a joint resolution, adopted by a majority of the whole number of each House, which becomes law.
`Section 6. The Congress shall enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation, which may rely on estimates of outlays and receipts.
`Section 7. Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government except those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except for those for repayment of debt principal.