U.S. representatives reject balanced budget amendment

The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected legislation to force Congress to balance its budget, the latest development as lawmakers look for ways to cut spending.

Friday’s vote of 261 for and 165 against failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The measure, pushed by majority Republicans, would have amended the U.S. Constitution to require that Congress not spend more than it receives in any given fiscal year.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan committee is scrambling to identify budget cuts ahead of a key deadline next week.

The 12-member, congressional supercommittee has until midnight on Wednesday to cut $1.2 trillion in federal spending over the next decade or risk massive automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs beginning in January 2013. Congressional aides say the committee is making little progress on a comprehensive deal to reduce the deficit.

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