WASHINGTON (AP) — As a "supercommittee" tries to find $1.5 trillion in new deficit cuts this fall, Republicans will be pressing a far more ambitious goal: passing an amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.

The idea is being pushed most forcefully by conservative activists eager to shrink the government and its spending but disappointed with the results they've achieved so far in Washington, where Democrats control both the White House and the Senate.

"Spending cuts and caps are steps in the right direction," said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. But a balanced budget amendment is "the only permanent solution to control government spending and end our nation's spending-driven debt crisis," Sessions said.

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