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Vox Sentences: Now you see a $1 trillion deficit ... now you don’t

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The House announces a (mostly symbolic) vote on a balanced budget amendment; the rape and murder of a young girl in India makes a statement about religious tensions.

The great Republican white whale of balanced budgets

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • The “balanced budget amendment” is back on the House floor. But the vote, which could take place as early as Thursday, is being seen largely as a symbolic gesture. [Reuters / Amanda Becker]
  • More specifically, the idea is to show Republican voters that their party cares about fiscal responsibility after they passed a bunch of tax cuts that will balloon the national deficit. [Roll Call / Ryan McCrimmon]
  • Recently, Republicans haven’t done a particularly good job of getting that message across:Tthe vote would come only a few days after congressional budget analysts said US deficits will soon approach $1 trillion, accelerated by the massive GOP tax cuts. [NPR / Susan Davis]
  • The amendment, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would prohibit Congress from spending more than it takes in in federal revenue unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate vote to do so. [USA Today / Eliza Collins]
  • But it has little chance of actually becoming law because it needs Senate Democrats to support it, as well as a majority of states to ratify it. [The Hill / Juliegrace Brufke]
  • House Republicans and Democrats alike are unimpressed. Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) said today that no one on Capitol Hill — or in the rest of America, for that matter — would take the vote seriously. [Politico / Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris]
  • This isn’t the first time a balanced budget has been used as a political rallying cry. The movement started in the late 1970s, when Republicans floated a balanced budget amendment to rein in spending under Jimmy Carter’s administration. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • No, balanced budget amendments are something of a white whale on the right, with many conservatives believing this kind of amendment would be the only way to successfully enact spending cuts. [Vox / Tara Golshan]

A rape and murder in India sparks defense of ... the accused

  • The horrific rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in India has become another battleground in the country’s religious wars between the Muslim and Hindu faiths. [AP via the Globe and Mail / Aijaz Hussain and Muneeza Naqvi]
  • The girl, Asifa Bano, was tending to her horses in northern India when a man lured her into a forest. There, she was given sedatives and raped several times by different men. Days later, her strangled body was found. [Washington Post / Marwa Eltagouri]
  • At first, the incident seemed like another isolated episode of sexual violence in India. Since then, it’s turned into a larger religious clash between Hindus and Muslim. Bano was from a nomadic Muslim tribe, and the country’s Hindu nationalists are defending the accused men, who are Hindu. [NYT / Jeffrey Gettleman]
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a staunch Hindu nationalist. So far, he hasn’t commented on the incident, or on the involvement of some of his party’s ministers and officials in protests in defense of the accused men. [Guardian]


  • As far as the markets are concerned, Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress was a good thing for Facebook: The company is $24 billion richer than it was yesterday morning. [Quartz / Eshe Nelson]
  • New Zealand is getting serious about climate change. The country’s government announced Thursday that it will stop issuing permits for offshore drilling and gas exploration. [NYT / Charlotte Graham-McLay]
  • If you think acne medication today is bad, just be happy you weren’t invested in skin care at any other point in history: Patting poison onto skin used to be the norm. [Racked / Tracy E. Robey]
  • Tax Day hasn’t always fallen in the middle of April. (Which isn’t to say that it’s ever been pleasant.) [Time / Shaina Mishkin]


“I offered to trade my 2003 Honda Accord for all of their stock. ... I was like, ‘I’ve got this car, and I want all that candy, so maybe they would consider it.’” [A Florida woman says she offered her car for a haul of Necco Wafers after learning the candy will likely be discontinued / Boston Globe]

Watch this: Why black Americans are getting less sleep

It’s a problem you shouldn’t sleep on. [YouTube / Gina Barton and Brian Resnick]

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