AFSCME Speaks Out Against Perilous Legislation

by Patricia Guadalupe  |  November 30, 2011

AFSCME joined several other national groups today in urging U.S. senators to protect hard-working Americans and vote against a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“A constitutional balanced budget amendment would eviscerate vital programs and services including programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, homeland security, law enforcement and many other programs that have directly helped millions of Americans and prevented a weak economy from becoming worse,” AFSCME wrote in a statement submitted to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. “The balanced budget requirement would also be particularly devastating for the most vulnerable Americans, those who already suffered the greatest from a weak economy and job losses.”

The Senate subcommittee is considering H.J. Res. 2: Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The measure was narrowly defeated earlier in the week in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 261 to 165, just shy of the 284 votes supporters needed for passage.

According to a study by the non-partisan economic forecasting group Macroeconomic Advisors, a balanced budget requirement would dictate cuts totaling $1.5 trillion. That would mean the loss of 15 million jobs, a doubling of the unemployment rate from 9 percent to 18 percent, and an already weak economy would shrink by nearly 17 percent. These are sobering numbers that should be unacceptable under even the best of circumstances, and that’s why AFSCME is urging senators to join their House colleagues in rejecting the measure.

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