Article V of the United States Constitution details the possible methods of amending the nation’s seminal document. One such method is through the use of a constitutional convention after application of two-thirds (34 of 50) of state legislatures. Though the Constitution has been amended 17 times (after the initial ratification of the Bill of Rights), none of these amendments has been the result of a constitutional convention called by the states.
That idea – a constitutional convention called by the states – picked up a major endorsement recently when Florida senator and White House hopeful Marco Rubio supported the idea in USA Today. In his endorsement, Senator Rubio wrote, “This method of amending our Constitution has become necessary because of Washington’s refusal to place restrictions on itself.” Among the issues Senator Rubio proposes to address through a constitutional convention are term limits and a balanced budget requirement.
With nearly $19 trillion in debt the United States is swimming in red ink (that’s nearly $59,000 in debt for every man, woman and child in the country!). Unless tamed, the debt the United States has accumulated will result in drastically lower standards of living for all Americans. That is why NTU has been at the forefront of the fight for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution for decades, whether through Congressional action or through an Article V convention of the states.
In 1997, a balanced budget amendment failed to garner the requisite two-thirds support in Congress by a single vote in the United States Senate. Currently 27 states have called for an Article V convention to address a balanced budget requirement. Given the perilous fiscal trajectory the United States is on, something needs to happen – and quickly. NTU is grateful for Senator Rubio’s prominent endorsement of a desperately needed check on federal spending.