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On The Balanced Budget Amendment, Dwight Is Right!

January 26, 2012

On Sunday, I posted here concerning legislators bringing forth pleas for legislation to initiate Article V conventions. In my last post, I identified HCR3, brought by Dwight Scharnhorst, as such legislation. I would like to update and clarify some misconceptions about this effort and help others understand the differences between HCR3 and other calls for Article V Conventions.

As this issue was hotly debated in Missouri last year, and continues to be so, there are some fine points that are easy to misconstrue in the language of the bills, where there are actually vast differences. Most opponents of Article V fear an open convention which would place the Constitution at risk for rewrite or restructure of previous amendments. The solution, in the minds of many, is to run single amendments through congress, which would address only the amendment submitted and protect the rest of Constitution from alteration, which could come forth in an open Article V convention. Proponents of Article V argue, IF conventions were handled legitimately, the possibility on focusing on the single issue is present, but Article V opponents don’t have the faith the process will operate free from corruption, and given the present state of affairs in government across the country, it’s  hard to blame them. There is no guarantee that Article V can maintain a single focused amendment consideration.

HCR3 is different from HCR4 in that it calls for a proposed amendment through the congress. HCR4 is a call for an open Article V convention, as proposed by Representative Chuck Gatschenberger. It takes 2/3 of both houses of Congress to call for amendments to the constitution, and it takes 2/3 of the states to call for an Article V Convention. In the instance of a convention, it would take 3/4 of the states to ratify the product which comes from the convention . The difference between the two is that a congressionally proposed amendment protects the entirety of the Constitution while considering only one amendment. Article V does not.

Article V – U.S. Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, 
which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.  

Dwight Scharnhorst has it right in proposing HCR3. The efforts of legislators and patriots are better spent on directed elected representation in Washington D.C. to advance the will of the people than risking a deconstruct of the present U.S. Constitution by a run away convention. The same desired outcome, of a balanced budget, can happen without potential devastating effects to liberty and freedom that our founders worked and fought so hard to give us.

Call and/or email Representative Scharnhorst ( Dwight.Scharnhorst@house.mo.gov 573-751-4392) and support his effort to get government to work for the people, the way it is supposed to. It might not be a bad idea to encourage your own legislator to do the same.

Additional information on this story can be found here.

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One Comment
  1. January 29, 2012 1:55 pm

    “The difference between the two is that a congressionally proposed amendment protects the entirety of the Constitution while considering only one amendment. Article V does not.”

    I had to read this BS three times before I could believe that anyone purporting to know anything AT ALL about the amendment process or even the Constitution would actually write these two sentences. Not only does the author not even know the basics of American history, he obviously cannot read.

    In the first place, it was CONGRESS that proposed 12 amendments simultaneously ten of which were ratified. These are usually known as the Bill of Rights. For the author’s information they are the first ten amendments to the Constitution. It’s a public document so I won’t go any further than to suggest he ACTUALLY READ the document before making such a ridiculous statement that there is any difference between the powers of Congress and a convention. Obviously, based on historic fact, “proposing amendments” for Congress means it can (and has) considered and proposed multiple amendments and the same holds true for a convention.

    Just as obviously, as Congress originally proposed 12 amendments, 11 of which were ratified, it means the states consider each on their own merits and can reject any or all of the proposals if they wish.

    Then there is the next dumb statement from the author–“Article V does not.” For the information of the author who obviously doesn’t even read what he posts, BOTH the congressional power of proposal AND the convention power of proposal ARE CONTAINED IN ARTICLE V. They are identical in power and authority and both require the same substantial protection, ratification by the states, to cause an amendment to become part of the Constitution.

    This author’s statements and his suggestion should be ignored entirely as it is blatantly obvious he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He doesn’t even mention for example, the most important point about a convention–that a sufficient number of applications have been received by Congress to cause a convention call without anymore submissions. In all 49 states have submitted over 700 applications for a convention call. You can read the applications at http://www.foavc.org and get the truth about a convention there.

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