Lawmakers in West Virginia approved a joint resolution calling for a national constitutional convention to draft and enact a federal balanced budget amendment sponsored by the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating the proposal and ratification of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In March, West Virginia joined 27 other states in approving an application for an Article V convention of the states, passing House Concurrent Resolution 36. After 34 state legislatures submit applications to the U.S. Congress on the same topic, Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to begin the state convention amendment process.
State Del. John Overington (R-Berkeley), the resolution’s primary sponsor in West Virginia, says lawmakers across the nation are joining the movement to propose and ratify a balanced budget amendment (BBA).
“There are aggressive efforts in a number of states and a well-organized and motivated team of volunteers to assist states working on the effort,” Overington said. “As the national debt continues to grow and the nation heads toward bankruptcy, the momentum will grow for a BBA.”
Overington says it’s time for state lawmakers to step up and do what Congress is unable or unwilling to do.
“The federal government has grown in scope and size, way beyond what our Founding Fathers had even imagined or planned,” Overington said. “Outside of national defense, they had envisioned the control and decision-making being done on the state and local level, much closer and responsive to its citizens. The waste involved with spending at the federal level, and its one-size-fits-all approach, is being more recognized as not in the best interest of the taxpayers or country.”
‘Running Out of Time’
David Guldenschuh, special counsel for the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, says more people are waking up to the need for a constitutional provision requiring the federal government to live within its means.
“Any politician, voter, or other citizen who objectively examines our fiscal status as a country can only conclude that we are fast running out of time and gimmicks to sustain our soon-to-be $20 trillion debt,” Guldenschuh said. “To ignore the deficits and our debt is to ignore the timer on a bomb ticking away beneath our home.”
Guldenschuh says the BBA movement is growing rapidly.
“Ideally, we can get the BBA passed in an additional six to eight states, including Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wyoming,” Guldenschuh said. “At least one chamber in seven of these states has already passed a BBA resolution. I am optimistic that the BBA resolution will pass in at least two more states in the next couple of months, bringing the total having passed to 30. That will be a magic number that should bring a higher level of media attention to the movement, which will have an overall positive impact.”
Dustin Siggins ([email protected]) writes from Washington, DC.
David Guldenschuh, “The Article V Movement: A Comprehensive Assessment to Date and Suggested Approach for State Legislators and Advocacy Groups Moving Forward,” Policy Brief, The Heartland Institute, November 16, 2015: https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/the-article-v-movement-a-comprehensive-assessment-to-date-and-suggested-approach-for-state-legislators-and-advocacy-groups-moving-forward