Consistent with longstanding consensus policy, the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) opposes current efforts to enact a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Amending the Constitution, for any purpose, is a most profound matter. Such action alters the fundamental law of the land. While the NJCRAC agrees there is an urgent need for additional significant federal deficit reduction, we believe the Congress is currently empowered to achieve that goal without amending the Constitution. Legislators need only the political will to make the tough choices.

A fiscally responsible plan to address the federal deficit must ensure that budget cuts do not compromise the vital interests and well-being of the American people. We believe the impact of massive cuts required by a balanced budget amendment would devastate those individuals and programs in greatest need of federal support. Congressional Budget Office forecasts indicate the proposed constitutional amendment would have significant impact on state and local government budgets, and involve deep cuts in programs which serve low, moderate, and middle income families, including Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, job training, education, welfare, and housing.

Therefore, we call upon Congress to reject the balanced budget amendment and to move pragmatically toward developing alternative mechanisms for attaining the goals of responsible deficit reduction.

-end-

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