The Senate has rejected two proposals to amend the Constitution to require Congress to come up with a balanced budget every year. The votes on the two measures, one backed by Republicans and the other by Democrats, effectively ends for this year the drive to change the Constitution as a way of forcing Congress to deal with $1 trillion a year deficits.
Neither came close to the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. Most Democrats argued that a balanced budget requirement would restrict the ability of Congress to deal with economic downturns and disasters.
The agreement reached last summer on raising the debt ceiling said that both the House and the Senate must vote on balanced budget amendments this year. A House version was defeated last month.