House rejects balanced budget proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has rejected a proposal to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget, seen by many as the only way to force lawmakers to hold the fiscal line and reverse the flow of federal red ink.The 261-165 vote was 23 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. Democrats, swayed by the arguments of their leaders that a balanced budget requirement would force Congress to make devastating cuts to social programs, overwhelmingly voted against it.Four Republicans joined the Democrats in opposing the measure.The first House vote on a balanced budget amendment in 16 years comes as the separate bipartisan supercommittee appears to be sputtering in its attempt to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.With the national debt now topping $15 trillion and the deficit for the just-ended fiscal year passing $1 trillion, supporters of the amendment declared it the only way to stop out-of-control spending. The government now must borrow 36 cents for every dollar it spends.\It is our last line of defense against Congress' unending desire to overspend and overtax

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