A national push to amend the U.S. Constitution that would make a balanced federal budget the law of the land received a hearing from Montana legislators, January 21.
Visiting the state to make the pitch was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the nation’s preeminent spokesman for a balanced federal budget. Kasich was one of the architects of the last balanced federal budget (1997) when he served as chairman of the Budget Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He doesn’t believe, however, that Congress has it in it to balance the books again.
“The fact is we are in a crisis today, an economic crisis caused largely by the fact that members of Congress have been unable to restrain themselves,” said Kasich at a Phoenix news conference
kicking off his recent swing through six states holding the key to passing the resolution necessary for Congress to act. “If there are not requirements that force politicians to make decisions that are in the long-term interest of the public, they will punt.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides for two equally valid ways to propose constitutional amendments, one is by way of the Congress and the other through a Convention of the States. Article V requires two-thirds (34) state legislatures to adopt similar Balanced Budget Amendment resolutions to call the convention—24 state already have. Montana is one of 10 states supporters are hoping join the effort. Once Congress receives petitions from 34 states, Congress must call for the convention—it has no say in the matter. Further information is at www.bba4usa.org
and at www.BalancedBudgetForever.com
Rep. Matthew Monforton, R-Bozeman, is sponsoring House Joint Resolution 4, which, if passed would add Montana to the list of states calling for a convention. “In this country, we’re rapidly becoming slaves to lenders who hold over $18 trillion of debt issued by the federal government,” said Monforton at a news conference reported on
by the Helena Independent Record.
A balanced federal budget would be phased in over time, the Independent Record reported Kasich as stating, “You want to make it reasonable, because, frankly, if you don’t make it reasonable, you’re never going to get it through the states.” But it can be done, as he responded to one question at his Phoenix stop. “Balancing a budget is not difficult. Some things have to go. Some things can be made better.”
Riley Johnson, Montana state director for NFIB, said small-business support for a balanced budget amendment is something fundamental. “Small-business owners have to balance two budgets every day, their business’s and their family’s without the infinite credit limit the federal government has.”