With federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion in the Obama era, the need for Congress to balance the federal budget is more important than ever. However, multiple attempts to get the required 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate have failed.
The most common method of amending the Constitution is for both houses to pass a measure with a 2/3 majority. Then, 3/4 of the states must approve.
However, there is an alternate path. If 2/3 of the states call for a Constitutional convention, an amendment can be proposed and subsequently approved if 3/4 of the states approve. And that’s exactly what Governor Kasich now says is needed.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. John Kasich urged the General Assembly today to press for a convention to approve a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In a news release this morning, the governor expressed frustration that government in Washington had not addressed budgetary issues and the federal debt.
“The states should call for a constitutional convention where a balanced budget amendment can be approved and sent to the states for ratification,” Kasich said in his statement. “Hopefully, however, Congress will pass an amendment itself before it gets that far. In the meantime, I’m going to work with the General Assembly to put Ohio behind this effort.”
He also appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show to talk about it.
Our rising national debt is more of a threat to this country than almost any enemy we have. If we can’t count on Congress, under either party, to balance the budget, then it’s clear we need a Constitutional amendment to force them to do it. It would require 34 states to call for a convention, and then 38 states’ approval to adopt the amendment.
49 states have balanced budget requirements. Why not the federal government? In the last 50 years, it has only happened five times. (Ironically, as budget chairman, it was Governor Kasich who crafted the balanced budgets in fiscal years 1998 to 2001.)
Kasich was inspired to revive this cause after reading an op-ed in the New York Times.
But tighter ropes may be needed. Perhaps a 28th Amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. While this idea may appear radical, it is favored by about 70 percent of Americans.
The amendment may be forced on Congress, given that 32 states have petitioned for its adoption since 1975, two states shy of the constitutional trigger.
The governor has created a petition site. Please visit it and add your name to the list.
Coincidentally, Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers has also recently made a call for the states to take the lead. From the Columbus Dispatch:
WASHINGTON — Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s renewed push for a federal balanced-budget amendment is apparently contagious.
Even as Kasich called for the state to push a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution last week, U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers was finishing months of research to launch a push for a balanced-budget amendment.
Stivers commissioned a poll that found support for the issue in the state.
He also has identified “target” states that could potentially be added to the 22 that have passed a resolution calling for a balanced-budget amendment, and he is reaching out to political leaders in those states.
And he has been in touch with state Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, as Burke prepared to reintroduce legislation calling for such an amendment. Burke introduced the bill yesterday. “This is an issue I’ve believed in for a while,” said Burke, who said he’s been working with Stivers on the issue for a few weeks.
This is very encouraging news and it’s also exciting that a renewed push is coming from Governor Kasich and Ohio. Knowing that there aren’t enough people in Congress willing to get this hugely important job done, let’s seriously hope that we see enough states say “enough is enough” and force Congress to balance the books and save our republic.