Senate set to vote on balanced budget amendments

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress will try again to force itself to rein in its spending habits when the Senate votes on two proposals to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget.

The House failed to approve a balanced budget amendment in a vote several weeks ago, and the Senate is expected to fall short as well on Wednesday, when it votes on dueling Republican and Democratic measures.

Supporters argue that a balanced budget requirement is essential if the government is ever to emerge from an age of $1 trillion-a-year deficits. But most Democrats say it would put the government in a fiscal straitjacket in which it would have to make massive cuts in social programs and be unable to respond to economic downturns.

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