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      Sen. Johanns Introduces Balanced Budget Amendment

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      Sen. Mike Johanns joined together with 45 other senators Wednesday and introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment for the Constitution.

      The amendment seeks to require Congress and the president to create a budget that would limit federal expenditures to 18 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. In addition, a supermajority vote would be required in both houses of Congress to raise taxes or increase the debt limit.

      "Thisamendment puts in place the commonsense principle that government should spendno more than it brings in," Johanns said. "Without taking strong action, changing course, and reducing our spendingwe will place the burden of massive debt on the shoulders of the nextgeneration, which is a terrible legacy to leave behind."

      In President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday he reiterated his proposal to reduce spending by $900 billion and increase taxes by $600 billion through a tax overhaul. The combined $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction would also reduce government payments on the debt.

      Obama intends to use some of those savings to pay for initiatives meant to create jobs. The $900 billion in cuts include reductions of $400 billion in spending on Medicare and other health care programs.

      Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in his response to the president's State of the Union address, "The tax increases and the deficit spending you [Obama] propose will hurt middle-class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security."

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