The Texas state legislature passed a resolution calling on Congress to draft new constitutional limitations on the federal government’s power and the duration of federal officials’ time in office.
Senate Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by state Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), was enrolled with the Texas secretary of state on May 11, officially calling on Congress to convene an amendment resolution “for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.”
The resolution is based on model legislation proposed by Convention of States (COS), a project of Citizens for Self-Governance, a nonprofit organization advocating restoration of state and local authority.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution establishes methods for proposing and enacting amendments. After 34 states call for an amendments convention, the gathering of commissioners selected by state lawmakers is limited to consideration of amendments requiring the federal government to enact the proposal specified by the call.
Currently, 28 states have passed similar resolutions that would mandate a balanced budget, with 11 approving the COS resolution.
States’ Critical Role
Katie Kerschner, a project coordinator with the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Tenth Amendment Center, says repairs to a broken federal government system must be done from outside the national government.
“We know that Washington cannot fix itself, and that it will not restrain itself,” Kerschner said. “Because of this, it is important for states to use the tools given to them by the Founders. States have an important role in acting as a check and balance to the federal government.”
Kerschner says state lawmakers should return accumulated federal power back to its proper place: among the states and people.
“By states joining together, we can restore the balance of power and restrain the leviathan federal government,” Kerschner said. “We have reached a point where far too much power is concentrated in Washington, DC. It’s time for states to fulfill their constitutional role and work to restore much of that power back to the states and the people. It is time for us to stop allowing Washington, DC to tell us how to live our lives, and return to the principles of freedom and liberty that have made America the greatest nation on Earth.”
‘To Save This Nation’
Birdwell, SJR 2’s sponsor, says the Article V movement shifts power back to the states.
“We’re going to use the Constitution to save this nation and rebalance the role of the states as sovereign entities,” Birdwell said. “Remember: the states created the federal government. With every new state that joined the Union—Texas being the 25th—we became an heir to that original contract that the 13 states of the original United States made.”
Birdwell says the federal government has usurped power originally granted to the states, and SJR 2 is meant to help take that power back.
“The creation is never greater than the creator,” Birdwell said. “What has happened is what the states created, the federal government, has inverted that relationship, and the federal government, as the creation, has become greater than the creator, the states, and is now the dominant policymaking body for nearly every element of our lives in this nation.”