Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus were two of only 20 Democratic senators to vote in favor of a balanced budget amendment earlier today.
The Senate rejected two separate proposals to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, following the footsteps of the House, which fell 23 votes short of the required two-thirds majority to pass its own balanced budget amendment last month.
The Republican proposal, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, was split on party lines, with all 53 Democrats opposing it and all 47 Republicans supporting it.
But the Democrats’ proposal received only 21 votes in favor, including one Republican, Dean Heller of Nevada. Both Tester and Baucus, one of the amendment’s five cosponsors, supported the measure. Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, was the primary sponsor.
After the vote, Baucus explained his vote:
“Montanans know living within our means is all about choices, and this bill is the right choice to balance our budget responsibly by protecting seniors and prioritizing working families.”
Tester also issued a statement:
“This nation needs a balanced budget requirement because Congress was given a $236 billion surplus in 2001, then irresponsibly squandered it in a matter of months. Unlike previous balanced budget proposals, this responsible amendment requires a balanced budget while protecting seniors, Social Security, and middle-class families.
“But no Montanan should believe that simply voting for a balanced budget amendment will solve the problem at hand. It is time for Congress to work together and actually make the tough decisions required to responsibly cut spending and cut our debt. I’m ready for others to join me in tackling this critical challenge.”
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