Published: Nov 18, 2011 8:33 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have forced Congress to balance its budget every year as a way to reverse years of deficit spending.
    
A majority of House members supported the balanced budget measure, but supporters fell short of achieving the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution.
    
Republicans who backed the amendment said it was the only way to get Congress to put its fiscal house in order. Democratic critics said a balanced budget requirement would result in drastic cuts in Medicare and other social programs when economic downturns put the budget out of balance.
    
It was the first House vote on a balanced budget amendment since 1995, when the House approved it but the bill fell one vote short in the Senate.

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