The U.S. Capitol dome.

Washington – House Republicans failed on Thursday to pass a balanced-budget amendment the GOP hoped would rebrand the GOP as the party of fiscal responsibility.

“The only way to ensure that Congress acts with fiscal restraint over the long term is to pass a balanced-budget amendment,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the sponsor of the amendment. It would have barred Congress from spending more than it takes in unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate vote to do so.

But on a mostly party-line vote, Republicans failed to advance the bill, 233-184. Every member of Connecticut’s delegation to the U.S. House, all Democrats, opposed the measure, as did most of their Democratic colleagues.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, sent out a number of tweets Thursday mocking the amendment and it’s Republican supporters.

“The American people are smart enough to see through this lame, limp, hypocritical go-nowhere patheticness. It’s why they don’t trust Congress. This is counterfeit legislative Viagra,” Himes tweeted.

Normally, legislation requires a simple majority of 218 votes to win approval in the House and can be passed with just Republican votes. But the balanced-budget amendment required bipartisan support with a two-thirds majority vote because it was a constitutional amendment.

The vote comes just days after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday that the annual federal deficit will grow “rapidly” over the next four years and will exceed $1 trillion by 2020.

Most of the red ink will come from the federal tax overhaul, which cut taxes for corporations and many individuals. A two-year, bipartisan budget deal also will contribute to the deficit, the CBO said.

Democrats said the resolution was a scam to gut social programs after the Republican tax bill boosted the deficit.

“This vote is designed to allow Republican members to avoid responsibility for the fiscal disaster they have created and a back-door attempt to fulfill their long-held desire to gut Social Security and Medicare,” said Rep. John Larson, D-1st District.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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