- Associated Press - Monday, April 18, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma House passed legislation Monday that asks Congress to call a national convention to consider adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution.

House members, who defeated similar legislation last year, voted 57-33 for the bill and sent it to the Senate to consider amendments.

Balanced budgets are required in every state except Vermont, but Congress does not have a balanced budget requirement.

Article V of the federal constitution allows an amendment to be added with a two-thirds vote of Congress and then ratification by three-fourths of the states, or 38. But conservative supporters of the idea, including the measure’s author, Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, expressed concern about what they decried as out-of-control federal spending and said Congress has been unresponsiveness to demands it curtail spending and reduce the nation’s estimated $19.2 trillion debt.

“The Congress is not going to willingly give up their power of the purse,” Banz said. “We have to take advantage of the constitutional option that we have.”

The constitution requires two-thirds of the 50 states, or 34, to request a national assembly to draft amendments.

Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled Legislature is among seven statehouses the Florida-based Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force has targeted this year to push the measure. A total of 27 states have petitioned Congress for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment, according to the task force’s website.

Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, said the size of the nation’s growing debt is a national security threat that jeopardizes the nation’s economy.

“We will go insolvent, no doubt about it,” Nelson said. “You cannot keep doing what we’re doing.”

But other conservatives expressed concern that any attempt to amend the U.S. constitution could lead to a convention that expands to take on issues beyond the federal budget, including changes sought by Democrats.

“The states know how dangerous this will be,” said Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow. “There is no workable, viable mechansim to stop dismantling our Bill of Rights.”

No Democrat spoke during the debate.


Senate Joint Resolution 4: https://bit.ly/1WBXHkv

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide