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Graham, SC Republicans call for balanced budget amendment to be added to US Constitution

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Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 7:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:28 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Sen. Lindsey Graham, R – South Carolina, joined South Carolina lawmakers at the State House in Columbia on Tuesday in calling for the state’s General Assembly to pass a bill that could have national implications.

The Republican group is pushing to add a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution, requiring Congress to pass a balanced federal budget, which it is currently not required to do.

One way the Constitution can be amended is for two-thirds of state legislatures to call for a convention to do so.

“We have 27 of the 34 states required to call a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment for ratification, and we need South Carolina to be on the map as number 28,” State Campaigns for the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force Director Loren Enns said.

Graham threw his support behind legislation proposed at the State House and backed by Republican leaders in both the state Senate and House of Representatives to add South Carolina to that list.

Among the lawmakers joining the state’s senior senator Tuesday were Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R - Edgefield, House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R - York, and Speaker of the House Jay Lucas, R - Darlington.

“It’s time for our country demand that our federal government stop their irresponsible spending,” Lucas said. “Fiscal irresponsibility at its federal level is lowering our standard of living, destroying jobs, and endangering economic opportunity now and for generations to come.”

Republicans, including Senator Graham, are also currently trying to take back a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Graham mentioned the 2022 election multiple times Tuesday, saying if Republicans do win back the Senate this November, he will insist one of the first votes they take is on the balanced budget amendment to get all senators on the record on this issue.

“My hope is, at the state level, we can make it clear to members of Congress what they should be doing,” Graham said, adding later, “The bottom line is, we need to bring that sense of accountability that the American people live under to Washington.”

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D – Richland, responded that everyone should hope for a balanced budget at both the state and federal levels. South Carolina is among the 49 states with some type of provision in place that requires its state budget be balanced.

But Rutherford said members of Congress, including Graham, already have the ability to do this without a change to the Constitution requiring them to do so.

“Senator Graham has been in office a long time,” Rutherford said. “He wasn’t advocating this when his president was in power. He wasn’t telling President Trump not to spend the money to save the banks, not to spend the money to save the economy, not to spend the money to deal with all the issues we had with COVID, but now, all of a sudden, it’s important to him. Should’ve been important then, and again, if people agree with him, they should un-elect him.”

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