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Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn) argued that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to require the federal government to pass a balanced budget.

“The simple truth is Washington must stop spending money it doesn’t have. If government begins to live within its means, just as Minnesota families do, we will begin to level the playing field for our job creators,” Paulsen wrote.

Most states require balanced budgets, but the federal government has used its power to spend more to fund things like wars and the recent stimulus packages. The proposal being considered would exempt the costs of war from the balanced budget requirement.

“Our debt crisis is a legitimate threat to our nation’s security and future,” Paulsen wrote. “A nation that does not control its debt does not control its destiny.”

All Republican members of the Minnesota delegation and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (DFL-Minn.) are signed on to the bill by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va). But passage of the constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber. It would then need to be approved by the legislatures of 38 states.

The issue will come to the floors of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate sometime between October and January, according to Republicans.

Democrats have criticized this and similar constitutional amendment efforts. Sen. Al Franken (DFL-Minn.) said earlier this month that the country really needs a bi-partisan effort at compromise, the St. Cloud Times reported.

“The Constitution did not create our budget problems, and changing it won’t solve them,” Franken said. “There are a lot of unforeseen consequences to altering our most valuable governing document. It should only be done with great care.”

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