States Move Forward With Plan To Alter Constitution
A very important meeting is being held in Washington this week, but career politicians, lobbyists and most in the media don’t want you to know about it.
More than 100 state legislators from around the country are meeting at the Naval Heritage Center. The Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) will discuss the rules for the first-ever Article V Constitutional amendment convention. This is their third meeting. They’re preparing to take on Washington, and Congress doesn’t like it.
The Framers of the Constitution had the foresight to anticipate what Congress has become: a dysfunctional mess. In Article V they wisely provided a means for the states to step in and amend the Constitution largely without congressional approval.
The state legislators in ASL are determined to convene an amendment convention. Our situation is that dire.
We have $18 trillion in federal debt, 20% of American households on food stamps, the Social Security Disability Income Trust Fund nearing depletion and an immigration reform debacle.
The country has not been this mired in critical problems and divided since the Civil War. Yet Congress cannot do the nation’s business.
It has become a body focused primarily on raising money for re-election. Getting re-elected is one area where they do succeed. Despite an 8% approval rating, over 90% of incumbents were just re-elected.
No wonder the country feels helpless and is crying out for reform.
The good news is: State legislators can force reform on Congress. The most important question for the Assembly of State Legislatures is: Which reforms are so popular that they could be adopted by 38 states and become Constitutional amendments?
It won’t be enough for 34 states to pass applications and simply hold an amendment convention. Having support for reforms from 38 states must be the goal. (Thirty-eight states are required to adopt Constitutional amendments, 34 to call an amendment convention.)
Doing otherwise — pushing for reforms that can never achieve approval from 38 states — plays directly into Congress’ hands. Congress and the Washington insiders want the states’ reform efforts to fail.
We cannot let that happen. It is us against them, and this is our chance.
There are two very popular and meaningful reforms on which millions of Americans in both parties agree: Equal application of law and congressional term limits. State legislators should focus their efforts on these two reforms first.
Following a successful amendment convention where precedent is established, the states could call additional conventions to consider other, more complex and divisive reforms.
Few things unite and anger Americans more than seeing Congress use loopholes to put itself above the law. Congress did so with the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
After passing the law without reading it, they later discovered that requiring congressional staff to use Healthcare.gov would significantly increase their staffs’ health insurance costs.
So what did the career politicians in Congress do? They quietly worked out a scheme with the administration to provide their staff with subsidies to cover the difference. It was bipartisan congressional hypocrisy in its most deceptive form.
An “Equal Application of Law” amendment would prevent Congress from engaging in these kinds of deceptions. We suggest the following amendment language: “Congress shall make no law applicable to the citizens of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.”
The amendment-convention delegates would deliberate on the specific legal language and its enactment. That is their role. They would do so knowing that over 95% of Americans support Equal Application of Law. It is simple, extremely popular and very meaningful.
We advocate that Congressional Term Limits be the second topic for an amendment convention. Seventy-five percent of Americans support term limits. The president is term-limited to eight years, 35 state governors are term-limited (most of them to eight years) and 15 state legislatures are term-limited (most of them also to eight years).
What makes Congress so special? Why is Congress not term-limited? Answer: because getting a Term Limits amendment on Congress through Congress will never happen.
Again, the delegates to the amendment convention will decide on the specific number of terms to limit the Senate and House. We suggest two consecutive terms for the Senate (12 years) and four consecutive terms for the House (eight years). But again, the specific number is a decision left to the convention.
Ending careerism in Congress and enacting term limits will accomplish a major goal: lessening the grip of the Big Four in leadership. McConnell, Reid, Boehner and Pelosi average 26 years in office. Yet the average senator has been in office for 10 years; the average House Member for nine years.
The Big Four run Congress like the old Soviet Politburo, spreading around leadership PAC money and intimidation to maintain control. It is no wonder that members do not read bills before they vote on them. They don’t need to — they’re told how to vote.
Freshman and junior members exist to perpetuate the Big 4 in leadership. The rank and file spend up to 70% of their time fundraising for re-election.
Fundraising is such a focus that they now have private cars driving senators off the Capitol grounds to call centers in order to make fundraising calls.
The average member is paid $174,000 per year to function much like a phone solicitor. Term limits will not take all the money out of the game, but they will ensure more open seats during elections, increase turnover and give more power to junior members. Congress will be regularly refreshed with new blood and new ideas.
Worried about term limits giving more power to lobbyists? Don’t be. Lobbyists despise term limits. They will no longer have as many members in their back pockets. It takes many years and multimillions of dollars to cultivate those relationships.
Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/120814-729571-fed-up-with-washington-states-look-to-convention-to-change-constitution.htm#ixzz3LXe7k5x1
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