Mo. House committee passes balanced budget amendment proposal | St. Louis Public Radio

Mo. House committee passes balanced budget amendment proposal

Feb 7, 2011

A resolution that would launch a new attempt to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution has passed a Missouri House committee.

The measure is sponsored by State Representative Dwight Scharnhorst (R, Valley Park).

He told the House Budget Committee that not having a balanced federal budget threatens to reduce the United States to a second-class country.

"When you can't pay your bills, you are addressed in a different manner and you're treated in a different way," Scharnhorst said.  "I think we're starting to see the very front edges of that right now, as our president goes around the world and negotiates and speaks with leaders in other countries."

As currently written, the resolution would require a federal balanced budget within three years of ratification.  But Scharnhorst says he'll add language expanding that timetable to 15 years if his measure makes it to the Missouri House floor.  It has one more committee stop first.

The measure passed easily, but not unanimously.  Freshman State Representative Genise Montecillo (D, St. Louis) cast one of three "no" votes.

"The constituents in my district are concerned about job creation, wanting to get back to work, and I think that (is why) they elected me to come here," Montecillo said.  "My focus should be getting people back to work and job creation, not sending resolutions to the federal government."

In 1983, Missouri lawmakers passed a similar resolution, although it called for a constitutional convention to add a federal balanced budget amendment.  Scharnhorst's resolution does not call for a convention.