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Michigan lawmakers urge Congress to require a balanced federal budget

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Michigan is joining at least 17 other states in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Wednesday, the state Senate gave final approval to a resolutionformally asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the amendment. It would take 34 total states to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention.

Supporters say requiring Washington to balance its books every year would force it to rein in out-of-control spending. And if 34 states pass similar resolutions, they say it would set an important precedent.

“We, as states, can actually determine what goes on in Washington,” said state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville. “And bringing Washington up to date with what life really is about today needs to happen.”

“There’s a lot of things that can be changed in Washington if we have the guts to go through this process,” said Green.

But Democrats say the resolution is a political gimmick.

“You know, this is what happens in an election year,” said state Sen. Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “They’re going to pat themselves on the back when, in actuality, had there been a balanced budget, we wouldn’t have had the Hoover Dam or land-grant universities like (Michigan State University).”

Gov. Rick Snyder indicated support for the resolution in his State of the State address earlier this year. It does not need to be approved by the governor.