For the third straight year, the House failed Wednesday to pass a constitutional amendment that would have required a two-thirds vote for Congress to increase taxes.

But the amendment itself failed again to achieve the two-thirds vote it needed to pass. The vote was 238-186 - or 52 votes short in the 435-member House.All three members from Utah voted for the bill - and freshmen Reps. Merrill Cook and Chris Cannon, R-Utah, talked in favor of it during debate.

Cannon said, "If government survives on the generosity of its citizens, shouldn't changes that affect this generosity require more than a vote of 50 percent plus one?"

He added, "The Tax Limitation Amendment would force future congresses to be fiscally responsible and prevent a simple partisan vote from increasing the tax burden on American workers."

When some said forcing a supermajority to pass increased spending is undemocratic, Cook said, "This debate isn't really about democracy. This is about the fear some members have of losing power - the power to increase the tax burden on the American people with a slim majority."

He added, "This amendment simply says that Congress must have a strong, compelling reason to raise taxes - a reason so sound it persuades two-thirds of Congress. Ladies and gentlemen, what's so alarming about that?"