Plan set for con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion

Con­ser­va­tives pur­sue bal­anced bud­get goal

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WASHINGTON REPORT - By Bob Christie

PHOENIX — Repub­li­can law­mak­ers from 19 states have com­pleted a plan that pro­vides an out­line on how to run a con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion that would pro­pose a fed­eral bal­anced bud­get amend­ment.

The four-day plan­ning ses­sion, which ended Fri­day, at the Ari­zona state Capi­tol in­volved 71 del­e­gates adopt­ing rules, pro­ce­dures and other de­tails of how such a con­ven­tion would be run. No Democrats at­tended.

At­ten­dees called the prod­uct a his­toric ef­fort that sets the stage for a con­ven­tion of states to pro­pose changes to the Con­sti­tu­tion. They said a con­ven­tion is the only way to force the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to ad­dress the nation’s $20 tril­lion deficit.

Utah state Sen. Ken Ivory said the nation has deep struc­tural is­sues, and the only way to fix them is to use the Con­sti­tu­tion’s own power to push changes through amend­ments pro­posed by states at a con­ven­tion.

“We have a sys­tem in dis­re­pair that op­er­ates to pro­duce tril­lion-dol­lar deficits, to pro­duce moun­tains of reg­u­la­tions and fed­eral crim­i­nal­iza­tion,” Ivory said. “And un­til we re­store that bal­ance and that divi­sion in power, we’re go­ing to con­tinue to see re­sults that a sys­tem in dis­re­pair pro­duces.”

A con­ven­tion is a long shot. One has never suc­cess­fully been used to pro­pose an amend­ment, and all 27 amend­ments that have been adopted were pro­posed by Congress. To call one, 34 state Leg­is­la­tures would have to pe­ti­tion Congress. If an amend­ment is pro­posed, it would need rat­i­fi­ca­tion by 38 states.

The cur­rent fed­eral bud­get in­cludes spend­ing of about $4 tril­lion and has a short­fall of nearly $700 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice.

Bob Christie The As­so­ci­ated Press

State Rep. Sage Dixon, seated cen­ter, hud­dles with other mem­bers of the Idaho Leg­is­la­ture’s del­e­ga­tion to a bal­anced bud­get plan­ning con­ven­tion at the Ari­zona Capi­tol in Phoenix on Sept. 12.

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