Balanced Budget Pressure Rising

The tea party–fueled push for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget will get its first real test this week, when House lawmakers cast ballots on the issue for the first time since the mid-1990s.

The amendment vote — mandated by the summer debt ceiling deal — is largely a sideshow to the deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. That’s because a constitutional change of this magnitude has little chance of garnering the required two-thirds supermajority in both chambers, much less ratification by the legislatures of a minimum of 38 states.

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