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Budget Amendment Fails

Senate rules left GOP leadership no room to maneuver; amendment goes down 66-34


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 4) -- The GOP effort to add a balanced budget constitutional amendment has failed in the Senate on a 66-34 vote.

The bill fell one vote shy of the two-thirds majority an amendment to the Constitution requires. All 55 GOP senators and 11 of the 45 Democrats voted for it. Its hopes for passage were dashed last Wednesday when Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) announced that he would vote against it.

Republicans spent the last several days trying to see how much last-minute maneuvering they could do to save it. The answer: Not much.


Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had mused that he'd consider making small changes to the bill to pick up a Democratic vote or two.

But under the rules that brought the bill to the Senate floor tonight, the unanimous consent of the Senate would have been needed to make any changes, which, Democrats made clear, wasn't going to happen.


Tonight's failure is likely to kill the bill for the rest of this two-year Congress. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) told reporters that in the past when the amendment has failed, Republicans have threatened to call it up again closer to an election.

Daschle said that if Lott tries to do that, he has been assured by Democratic supporters of the amendment they would change their vote and vote against it.

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