SENATE TO FEDS: BALANCE THE NATIONAL BUDGET
|Bryan Senator Steve Ogden encourages his colleagues to vote with him in favor of a resolution asking Congress to balance the federal budget.|
(AUSTIN) — The Senate Wednesday passed a resolution requesting Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that, when approved, would a balanced federal budget. If Congress does not pass such an amendment by the end of the year, the Texas would join a petition to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment. There are two ways to amend the U.S. Constitution. One is through Congress; the other permits states to petition the federal government to call a convention. If two-thirds of states file a petition, a convention is called.
Resolution author Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan said a recent trip to Washington underlined the need for such a measure. He spoke to several legislators on both sides of the aisle and found that, whether right or left, members were unwilling to consider a balanced budget amendment. Ogden concluded if a budget amendment is going to be considered, the states must take the lead. "The Congress is incapable of addressing this issue," said Ogden.
Some Senators expressed concern that if the states called a convention, the Constitution would be open to all manner of changes. Ogden addressed this by saying the amendment process would prevent radical changes to the Constitution. An amendment can only pass if three-fourths of states ratify it, a requirement that would dictate broad consensus to any proposed changes. Ogden added that while he didn't know what would happen if a convention were to be called, he doesn't think it will come to that. He believes that Congress would consider a balanced budget amendment if they see petitions approaching that two-thirds threshold. "Several amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been proposed by the Congress, not because the Congress thought they were good ideas, but in response to the pressure they received from their states," he said.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, February 28 at 1:30 p.m.
|House Speaker Joe Strauss (left) and Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan applaud after Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson's State of the Judiciary address.|