What if we had the Power …
… to compel the federal government to actually have a budget and balance it?
… to stop the federal government from recklessly indebting the future of our
children and grandchildren?
… to overrule federal laws, rules, regulations and orders that now penalize
almost every aspect of our daily lives?
The fact is … we do!
George Washington, in his landmark Farewell Address, put our power this way: “If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution designates two ways to propose amendments to restore balance in the constitutional powers between the state and federal governments as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, also as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states…”
Congress has the power to propose amendments. But, did you catch the second way we can amend the Constitution through our locally elected representatives?
George Mason was the founder who made sure we had this “Constitutional Emergency Cord” in case the federal government grew out of control. He said, “Itwould be improper to require the consent of the National Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account.”
Because of George Mason’s foresight, Congress must call a convention if 2/3rds of the states petition for a convention to propose amendments on the same subject. Whether proposed by Congress or the States, 3/4ths of the state legislatures must ratify an amendment before it becomes part of the Constitution. Amending the Constitution is not too easy (which could lead to chaos), and it’s not too hard (which could lead to frustration or even rebellion).
Over the years, Congress has proposed many amendments. Twenty-seven of them have been ratified and are part of our Constitution. From the ratification of the Constitution, 2/3rds of the States have never petitioned to convene officially as states to propose amendments. However, that is beginning to change because people across the political spectrum are realizing the federal government is growing out of control.
Last week (September 21-23, 2016), the first ever Convention of State simulation was held in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Representatives (called commissioners) from all 50 states were there. I was elected by this nationwide assembly of commissioners to serve as the president of the Convention. Here is a video to my concluding remarks at the Convention.
This was a great personal honor. However, I was even more honored by the conscientiousness of the commissioners in proposing, deliberating, debating and approving six specific proposals for consideration by the American people in petitioning for the first official Article V Convention of States.
Just imagine how WE can restrain our presently out of control federal government through these six proposed amendments that were passed:
- Requiring the states to approve any increase in the national debt.
- Requiring a super majority vote to increase federal taxes and a repeal the 16th Amendment.
- Limiting federal overreach by returning the Commerce Clause to its original meaning.
- Limiting the power of federal regulations by providing a simple congressional override.
- Giving the states (by a 3/5ths vote) the power to overrule any federal law, regulation or executive order.
- Imposing term limits on Congress.
These proposals from a two-day simulated Convention of States don’t address every area of federal overreach (… that would be a long list!). But they should give you a good idea of what is possible when WE exercise the power WE do have to restore governing balance and protect our right to prosper.
As your representative, I have been working tirelessly to employ every constitutional means of restoring the great promise of America – the right to local self-governance and to determine our own destiny.