Our nation's debt problem cannot be overstated, like grains of sand on the beach, or stars in the sky, it has almost exceeded our ability to comprehend it.
No matter which party controls the federal government our debt continues to grow at an ever increasing rate, which threatens the economic prosperity of our nation. You may be surprised to learn that in the last 30 years, Congress has managed to balance the budget only twice.
The U.S. debt has accelerated to such an extent that according a recent publication by George Mason University's Mercatus Center, the accelerating debt has exceeded the Congressional Budget Office's projections by 10 years.
Our published national debt exceeds $17 trillion dollars, when one factors in future entitlement spending and federal promises that figure balloons to an estimated $85 trillion dollars. However, the sad fact is, no one truly knows the full extent of our nation's debt, and that is just plain wrong.
The good news is there is an answer to our Federal government's spending addiction. The states have the power under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to apply for a convention for proposing amendments to solely consider a federal balanced budget amendment.
I understand many of you have questions regarding how an Article V Convention will operate.
The answers can be found in the history of interstate conventions preceding the debates of the Constitution, modern Constitutional research, and in the words of the Founding Fathers.
Under Article V and historical legal precedent, states have the right to select, credential, and instruct their delegates to an Article V Convention. A delegate is a fiduciary of their state legislature.
Delegates to a convention for proposing amendments are selected by a mode determined by their state's legislature. The delegates are commissioned by the state legislature and are bound by their oath and state law to consider only convention agenda specified in their instructions. A delegate whom exceeds the scope of their instructions faces removal, additionally; appropriate civil and criminal penalties may apply as determined by state law.
Others have questioned whether limits can be place on the subject matter of a convention for proposing amendments.
The American Bar Association concluded in a 1974 study that an Article V Convention can be limited to one subject and that such limits can be legally enforced. The ABA noted the founder's intent was for limited conventions to consider particular topics. They further noted the Article V Convention method was meant as "workable alternative" when Congress failed to act.
Some have speculated that a convention could be used to move forward unspecified amendments.
However, there is no history of conventions exceeding their authority.
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was not convened to "amend" the Articles of Confederation, but to "revise" and "alter" the Articles to establish an effective national government.
There were more than 12 interstate conventions preceding the convention that ultimately become known as the Constitutional Convention, none of these conventions exceeded their scope.
There have been more than 200 state constitutional conventions held and none have 'runway'.
A convention of the states has no more power than Congress to propose amendments. Any proposed amendment must be ratified by a super majority of 38 states.
In addition, The Heritage Foundation concluded in a 1988 report that fears an unlimited Article V Convention would endanger the Constitution are unfounded. They further noted that the state initiated Article V process to amend the Constitution may actually be safer than the congressionally initiated method.
Some have speculated on the role of Congress in an Article V Convention. Congresses' role is strictly limited by the words set forth in Article V to naming the time and the place of the convention.
Our Constitution is based on a system of checks and balances. It is the duty of the states to protect the people and the nation should the federal government fail to live up to constitutional obligations. The states have this power in Article V of the Constitution.
Article V belongs to you and the time to act is now.
Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force
P.O. Box 1261
Leesburg, VA 20177