Doyle Votes Against Proposed Constitutional Amendment

November 18, 2011
Press Release

Washington, DC – November 18, 2011 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) voted against H.J.Res.2, a resolution to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, when it was considered by the House of Representatives today. 

“The debate over raising the debt limit was a watershed moment.  After the debt limit fiasco, it’s clear to me that requiring a three-fifths vote to raise the federal debt limit would be disastrous,” Congressman Doyle said afterwards.  “This constitutional amendment would substantially increase the likelihood that the federal government will default on the national debt, and that’s most definitely not in our national interest.”

“Moreover, I’m convinced that in today’s supercharged partisan environment, it is nearly impossible to get a three-fifths vote for any substantial legislation, no matter how important it is,” Congressman Doyle added. “This amendment would in all likelihood force devastating cuts in essential programs like Social Security and Medicare.”

“Consequently, I voted against this ill-advised amendment to the Constitution because I believe it could hamstring the federal government’s ability to respond to future major crises and make major cuts in programs millions of Americans depend upon.”  

If approved by Congress and ratified by the States, this balanced budget amendment would:

  •  - Require a 3/5 vote to raise the debt ceiling. This supermajority requirement would make it much more likely that the United States would default on its obligations and cripple the global economy.
  • - Make it difficult for the United States to respond to a crisis. H.J.Res. 2 requires specific legislation and a majority vote to ‘run a deficit’ in a time of war, which would slow down the U.S. response time in a military crisis. H.J.Res. 2 would require a 3/5 vote to ‘run a deficit’ in order to respond to a domestic crisis, making it nearly impossible to adequately address an economic crisis or natural disaster in a timely manner.
  • - Take spending decisions out of the hands of the legislative branch. Enforcement of balancing the budget could fall to federal judges, who could then decide to raise taxes or cut spending to bring the budget into ‘balance.’

A top economic forecasting firm, Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, has reported that if a Balanced Budget Amendment were enforced through spending cuts in FY 2012, it would throw 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by 2 percent.  

While 261 Representatives voted in favor of the balanced budget amendment, supporters fell short of the two-thirds (290) vote required for its approval.  Congressman Doyle was one of 165 Members of Congress who voted against approving this amendment and sending it to the states for ratification.

Click here to read the text of H.J.Res. 2.

Click here to read an analysis of the impact of this balanced budget amendment on Social Security, Medicare, and other federal programs.