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Gale Norton on Government Reform

Secretary of Interior (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


Constitutional Convention for Balanced Budget & Term Limits

Poll after poll shows that the American people want to amend the US Constitution in two important ways, as soon as possible. The people want a balanced budget amendment, and they want an amendment to limit the terms of Members of Congress. Congress, however, refuses to propose either amendment. Congress’s stubbornness on these issues has stirred debate over whether the States should force Congress to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, as they are entitled to do.

The Framers provided this method [in Article V of the Constitution] for amendments without Congressional consent precisely because Congress could not be trusted always to propose necessary amendments. Congress would not be inclined to propose amendments limiting Congressional power, in particular. On several occasions, Congress has been prodded to propose particular constitutional amendments by the threat that enough States would otherwise submit applications and force Congress to call a convention.

Source: Press release, “Constitutional Convention,” by Gale Norton , Aug 8, 1996

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Page last updated: Dec 14, 2011