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Title: Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Hatch Bill)
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a joint resolution that submits a constitutional amendment to the state legislatures that prohibits the federal government from spending money in excess of its revenue, beginning 5 fiscal years after the amendment is ratified.
- Prohibits the federal government from spending more money than it receives for any fiscal year, unless authorized to do so for a specific expenditure by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress.
- Prohibits federal spending from exceeding 18 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States, unless authorized to do so for a specific expenditure by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress.
- Defines "federal revenue" as excluding funds derived from borrowing.
- Defines "federal spending" as excluding debt payments.
- Requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress for any bill that imposes a new tax, increases the rate of any existing tax, or increases the aggregate amount of revenue collected by the federal government, unless the revenue increase is the result of a tax cut.
- Requires a three-fifths majority vote in both houses of Congress for any increase in the federal debt limit.
- Exempts the federal government from the provisions of this act during any fiscal year in which 1 of the following criteria are met:
- A declaration of war against a nation;
- State is in effect, and a majority of both houses of Congress vote to waive the provisions; or
- The United States is engaged in a military conflict that causes an "imminent and serious" military threat to national security, as declared by a three-fifths majority vote of both houses of Congress.