Attempts to pass balanced budget amendments to the U.S. Constitution would have had "dire consequences" on the economy if they had been successful, according to Sen. Ben Cardin.
The U.S. Senate Wednesday voted down efforts to pass amendments to the Constitution that would require balanced federal budgets.
“Amending our constitution is not an acceptable way to address our nation’s long-term fiscal problems," said Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who is completing his first term in the senate. "It could have dire consequences on our economy, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, clean air and clean water, national security, and other critical government programs. In addition, the constraints of a balanced budget amendment could leave us unprepared to respond quickly to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, terrorist attacks like 9/11, and financial crises like the recent mortgage meltdown."
“We can balance the budget without changing our constitution. We have done it before – and we can do it again," said Cardin in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Cardin, in his statement, advocated a return to policies that guided the federal budget under President Bill Clinton.
"From Fiscal Years 1998 through 2001 we had balanced budgets," said Cardin in his statement, adding Republicans "rarely tout the successes of that era, but I believe that we should use those policies as a guide.
"There are solutions, budget controls that can lead to better outcomes. And there are bipartisan options.”