Lee wants preliminary vote on balanced budget

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Sen. Mike Lee wants to get the Senate on the record supporting an amendment to the Constitution that would require Congress to pass balanced budgets.

Monday, he found his vehicle, a completely unrelated patent reform bill the Senate is taking up this week. Using a procedural tactic, Lee attempted to force the body to vote on whether it wants to someday pass some kind of balanced budget amendment.

"There are a lot of us who are concerned that as we are approaching a potential government shutdown — that Democrats have been threatening — that we need to have some discussion this week that we need a structural control mechanism" for spending, Lee said.

The Senate could vote at some point this week on Lee's proposal, which wouldn't approve any balanced budget amendment, just offer the "sense" of the members on such a move.

The freshman Republican noted that he wasn't attempting to slow down or hinder passage of the patent legislation, which is co-sponsored and co-authored by his colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.