With a new Republican challenger having entered the race, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., has introduced a proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution as she tried to claim the political center. 

Murphy, a freshman representing a swing district, brought out her amendment on Thursday, insisting her proposal would “prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives in any given fiscal year, except in the cases of war or recession and “generally prohibits a court from enforcing this requirement by ordering cuts to Social Security or Medicare payments.”

“Our national debt is skyrocketing, and we are irresponsibly passing this burden on to our children and grandchildren—shackling them with unsustainable debt,” said Murphy. “Just as every family and small business is expected to balance their budget, so should the federal government. The only way to force Congress’ hand is to amend the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget each and every year. My balanced budget amendment will compel Congress to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to being a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.”

Murphy insisted her proposal, which would ensure the White House offers a budget which does not exceed revenue, would hold Washington accountable. She also pointed to her support for U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s, D-Tenn., “No Budget, No Pay Act” which freezes congressional pay if Congress fails to pass the budget and appropriations bills before the April 15 budgetary and October 1 appropriations deadlines. Under Cooper’s proposal, members of both the Senate and the House would not be able to claim retroactive pay. A variation of the bill was passed in 2013 but Cooper said it was watered down as it only covered a single year. 

“Congress has been, and continues to be, so dysfunctional because of partisanship and special interests that it is failing the American people,” said Murphy. “I helped introduce No Budget, No Pay to force Congress to pass a budget on time or lose their paychecks. My balanced budget amendment is another means of requiring Congress to work together and to do the jobs they were elected to do.”

Murphy has also been playing up her centrist credentials, including being part of the Blue Dog Coalition and co-chairing the Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force. Under then President George W. Bush, Murphy worked as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In recent days, Murphy joined with Republicans in voting to pass “Kate’s Law” which cracks down on sanctuary cities. 

Despite that, state Rep. Mike Miller, R-Orlando, who jumped in the race against Murphy last week, looked to link her to the Democratic leadership including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. 

“It’s time for Congress to represent the views, the values and the priorities of the people,” Murphy noted as he entered the race. “And making that happen starts right here at home, by electing a member of Congress whose vote is guided by what’s right, and what’s in the interest of our families, our community and our nation. This district should no longer be represented by someone whose vote is controlled by Nancy Pelosi and the ultra-left.”

Miller might not have an open path to the Republican nomination. State Senator David Simmons is also looking at entering the race. Murphy has a primary opponent of her own as attorney Chardo Richardson, the president of the Central Florida ACLU, is already running in the Democratic primary. 

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