Government Executive reports House passes balanced budget bill.
The House on Wednesday passed legislation that directs President Obama to submit a balanced budget plan to Congress this spring.
The Require a Plan Act (H.R. 444) compels Obama to submit a supplemental budget by April 1 if his fiscal 2014 budget blueprint does not include a plan to balance the government’s books. That supplemental budget would outline a long-term deficit reduction strategy and timeline for balancing the budget. The chamber approved the legislation, shepherded by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., and the GOP leadership, after debating it Wednesday morning.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the bill.
House Speaker John Boehner said he will oppose any delay of $1.2 trillion in automatic U.S. spending reductions set to begin March 1 unless Congress replaces them with other “cuts and reforms.”
“At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters at a Washington news conference today. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years that I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”
The March 1 deadline marks another fiscal showdown between the administration and Republicans, who control the House of Representatives. Boehner and other Republicans have said for weeks that they expect the spending reductions to take effect, and that they won’t accept any tax increase to prevent them.
“Deep, indiscriminate cuts to things like education and training, energy and national security will cost us jobs and slow down our recovery,” Obama said at the White House yesterday in urging adoption of a short-term plan. “This doesn’t have to happen.”
Democrats who control the Senate debated alternatives for replacing the spending cuts during their retreat yesterday in Annapolis. They agreed they should pursue a measure to replace the cuts with a combination of new tax revenue and a different set of spending reductions, said a Senate Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private. The lawmakers didn’t decide on details or how long the spending cuts should be delayed, the aide said.