Tag: Compact for America

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Scalia Would Have Wanted the States to Use the Article V Amendment Power Responsibly


Compact-for-America-logoBy Paulette Rakestraw and Mead Treadwell

A month ago, the editorial board of USA Today issued a warning urging the states to resist the call by Sen. Marco Rubio for a “constitutional convention” to draft amendments to balance the federal budget and impose term limits on judges and members of Congress. As the two current commissioners of the Compact for a Balanced Budget, we agree with the editorial board (and its reference to remarks that the late Justice Antonin Scalia had given years ago): a “constitutional convention” conducted outside the scope of Article V of the US Constitution would be inappropriate.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Compact for America: Using the States to Fix Washington


Compact-for-America-logoAs we’ve seen during Republican administrations and Democrat administrations, and with Republican congresses and Democrat congresses, Washington, DC refuses to fix its addiction to spending. During “conservative” George W. Bush’s two terms, the debt jumped by $4.9 trillion, and during “progressive” Barack Obama’s term (so far), it has jumped $8.2 trillion.

Looking at our nearly $19 trillion hole and with no end in sight to deficit spending, many limited government fans have decided that any solution to the Beltway can’t come from the Beltway. So, Marco Rubio caused a minor stir last week when he floated an idea that has been circulating in the right-leaning policy community for the past few years: Having the states leverage the power given to them by the Constitution.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Good Is Another Parchment Barrier?


e48202_c9245fe6b9db46f592ca1450e15e3049.jpg_srb_p_397_335_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbAmericans are tired of Washington. We keep sending new politicians who promise to get our finances in order, but every year the national debt goes up. The fundamental problem is that the United States faces an overconcentration of power in Washington, D.C. The ability to incur limitless amounts of debt is what enables politicians to get away with promising to spend limitless amounts of money. That power is easily leveraged by special interests to enrich themselves at the expense of current and future generations. As a result, Washington has not — and will never — control its addiction to debt.

Fortunately, the Founders gave us the power to solve the problems caused by “Washington gone wild” in Article V of the Constitution. Article V empowers state legislatures to originate constitutional amendments. This authority was meant to be used as a crucial failsafe to protect our liberty from an overconcentration of power in Washington, D.C. In Federalist No. 85, the last Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton urged skeptical states to ratify the Constitution because they retained ultimate authority over the federal government through Article V’s state-initiated constitutional amendment process.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. On the Debt Ceiling, Congress Should Keep It Simple


shutterstock_161578643In the coming days, the federal government will once again run up against the debt ceiling. In recent years, Congress has addressed the need to increase the debt ceiling by resorting to convoluted procedures to make it appear that it opposes increasing the ceiling, while actually enacting laws to do just that. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Congress adopted a procedure of increasing the debt ceiling, while making the increase subject to a later resolution of disapproval. The resolution of disapproval was not adopted. Subsequent to 2011, Congress has suspended the debt ceiling for set periods of time. The argument here is that suspending the debt ceiling does not mean increasing it. The numbers say otherwise, with the federal “debt subject to limit” now exceeding $18 trillion.

This time around, Congress should get back to basics and vote to enact a clean bill to increase the debt ceiling. It should do so by a reasonable amount in exchange for separate legislative actions, both substantive and procedural, that serve to rein in spending and achieve a balanced budget. The main reason for returning to a simple approach is that the debt ceiling is important tool for advancing the cause of federal fiscal responsibility, and the convoluted procedures incrementally weaken that tool. More specifically, the circumstances are now different and the convoluted procedures are no longer appropriate for four reasons.