A friend requested I read this short Senate Joint resolution sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint, a congressman who represents South Carolina. The bill concerns a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget, a move possibly implemented by the recent increase in the federal debt ceiling signed by President Obama.
The resolution has eight sections for the proposed new Article, all of which center around restricting the total outlays, or expenditures, within a fiscal year to the total expected receipts for that year. The amendment would also restrict the budget proposed by the president within the same receipts.
The proposed amendment does have room to stretch, however, in the ability of Congress to override the bill with a two-thirds majority or during times of war.
I do have a problem with section 6:
Section 6. The Congress shall enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation, which may rely on estimates of outlays and receipts.
By whose authority shall the Congress abide by the estimates? So far this year, with the federal receipts at an unexpected all-time low, I don’t have much faith in their ability to second-guess themselves.
I’m also curious about section 7:
Section 7. Total receipts shall include all receipts of the United States Government except those derived from borrowing. Total outlays shall include all outlays of the United States Government except for those for repayment of debt principal.
Why does the proposed amendment makes exclusions for certain receipts and outlays? On what grounds are these given special treatment over other expenses and gains?