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How the amendment would work

As proposed in Congress, the constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget would:

* Require Congress to adopt a budget in which spending is no greater than receipts. It would take a three-fifths vote of both Houses to pass an unbalanced budget.

* Limit tax receipt increases to the rate of national income growth, unless Congress votes an official tax hike. Under current tax law, the government reaps a revenue bonanza in times of inflation, because workers earn higher salaries and move into higher tax brackets automatically.

* Permit budget deficits when there is a declaration of war.

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