The House GOP’s big plans for October

It’s as if some in Congress are actually getting dumber.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.) told a conference of Republican Party activists on Mackinac Island, Mich., that the House leadership intends to push for a vote on a federal balanced budget amendment in October.

Responding to a pointed question from the audience, challenging Mr. Upton and other members of Michigan’s Republican House delegation for supporting a debt ceiling deal that didn’t include a firm balanced budget requirement, Mr. Upton said House GOP leaders are committed to acting on a balanced budget proposal soon.

Mr. Upton said House leaders met regularly to map out their agenda, and “October is balanced budget. We’re going to have votes on the balanced budget amendment.”

Those who continue to argue that House Republicans deserve to be taken seriously on public policy probably don’t fully appreciate how very wrong they are.

We’re in the midst of a jobs crisis; economic growth is anemic, and Americans are desperate for policymakers to take this crisis seriously. And yet, this is what’s on the mind of the congressional GOP.

Keep in mind, in early August, House Republican leaders told their members that “the best thing they could do during the August recess” was to sell their constituents on the idea of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Apparently, the next wave is on the way.

This is just madness. Even if we put aside the fact that there are real problems that require immediate attention, and even if we ignore the proposal’s legislative prospects, the Republicans’ Balanced Budget Amendment is one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas. That congressional Republicans managed to create a BBA this year that was even worse than the previous version is a testament to their creativity, but it also reflects a degree of economic illiteracy that should disqualify them from any adult conversation on public policy.

What sensible policymakers should be doing is dismissing this “pathetic joke” of a proposal as quickly as possible.

That this is at the top of the priority list for congressional Republicans is a reminder of just how far gone they really are.