At the opening of the last Congress, House and Senate Republicans lined up behind a Tea Party “balanced budget amendment” that would have made it functionally impossible to raise taxes while simultaneously forcing spending cuts so severe that they would “throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to approximately 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by an expected 2 percent.” Every single Republican in the senate co-sponsored this depression-inducing constitutional amendment.
Two years and one election later, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced a version of the Tea Party amendment in the new Congress — but Lee is now a lone voice crying in the wilderness. According to Thomas, the Library of Congress’ searchable database of federal legislation, Lee’s proposed amendment has zero co-sponsors.
It’s worth noting that Lee has, at times, called national child labor laws, FEMA, food stamps, the FDA, Medicaid, income assistance for the poor, and even Medicare and Social Security unconstitutional. Meaning that every senator who does not believe that preventing children from working in coal mines is a violation of our founding document appears to have abandoned the quest to also turn that document into a blueprint for the Great Depression.