Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday talked up the need for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and said that calling a convention of states would be one way to make it happen if he’s elected president.
“I’m totally for the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution,” Mr. Kasich said at a town hall-style event in New Hampshire. “Without it, the Congress will never do it on a consistent basis.”
Mr. Kasich, a former congressman, said he’s supported such an amendment since he was 28 years old, and noted that he recently toured the country advocating for one.
“I went to states out west, all the ones that were likely to be for it,” he said. “And we got a number of ‘em to actually pass [it].”
The idea of calling for a convention of states under Article V of the Constitution has generated renewed interest in some conservative circles in recent years.
It takes at least two-thirds of the states, or 34, to apply to Congress for a call of a convention under Article V, though the process has never been used and there is debate over whether the application’s language has to be uniform.
It would take approval of at least three-quarters of the states, or 38, to actually ratify changes to the document.
“So who objects to it? Well, we [called] for a constitutional convention for purposes of balancing the budget,” Mr. Kasich said. “And people on the far right have said, oh, well if there’s a constitutional convention, they’re going to take my guns away. Or they’re going to do x, or they’re going to do y, so we [had] better not deal with this.
“Now … 38 states would have to ratify anything that came out of a convention,” he said. “Which is your greatest protection against anything that would be extreme. But it doesn’t matter, because then they threaten the members of the legislature and say, ‘if you vote for that thing, we’re gonna come and get you.’
“So we’re about four or five states short, but we’re optimistic,” he said. “If I’m president, we’re going to get there. We are absolutely going to get there. But if I’m not there, I don’t know what’s going to happen … there are still a number of states that ought to approve it. And in some states, one person blocks it.”
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has voiced support for the effort since late last year, is one of Mr. Kasich’s 2016 GOP rivals who has also offered praise for the movement on the campaign trail.