Neb. AG picked by balanced budget group

Jessica M. Karmasek May 4, 2011, 12:00pm


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - A group calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution has selected Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning as Nebraska's state chair and to serve on its national advisory board.

Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment made the announcement Wednesday.

Pass the BBA, which is based in Phoenix, is one of the country's advocates for a balanced budget amendment. The group describes itself as an "outside the Beltway, non-partisan, grassroots movement actively gathering 5,000 to 10,000 voter signatures in all 435 congressional districts demanding fiscal accountability from their leaders."

The group mostly works with state and local groups to pass balanced budget amendment resolutions in state legislatures, but it also works with U.S. lawmakers.

Bruning, a Republican, was elected as Nebraska's attorney general in 2002. He was reelected without opposition in 2006 and 2010. He is the past president of the National Association of Attorneys General and served six years as a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature.

Bruning also is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, for Nebraska's U.S. Senate seat in 2012.

"Attorney General Bruning is the proven fiscal conservative that our country desperately needs right now, we are excited that he will be joining Pass the BBA, he is a great addition," Chuck Warren, co-founder of the group, said in a statement.

Pass the BBA has supported measures that balance the budget through spending cuts, require a supermajority vote in each chamber to raise taxes or increase debt, require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress, and hold a vote by Oct. 1, 2011.

It says several members of Congress have introduced balanced budget amendment bills.

In fact, Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both Utah Republicans, introduced such a bill in late March. The amendment is cosponsored by all 47 Senate Republicans.

In addition to forcing a balanced budget, the senators' amendment caps federal spending at 18 percent of the GDP. It also requires a 60 percent vote to raise the national debt limit. It requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, and it forbids courts from ordering any tax increase.

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