August 2021 Newsletter

by | Aug 9, 2021 | AVC Newsletter

This Month…

  • Congresswoman Herrell Commits to Introduce Article V Call>

  • US Federal Fiscal Responsibility Academy

  • Complete Video Record of the Academy

Congresswoman Herrell Commits to Introduce Article V CallHere are Representative Yvette Herrill’s remarks to the legislators attending the US Fiscal Responsibility Academy, including her commitment to introduce a resolution to call a convention as soon as the requisite number of state legislatures call for such convention. To view the six minute speech, of go to:

US Federal Fiscal Responsibility Academy 

reported by Vickie Deppe

Dozens of state legislators gathered in Salt Lake City on July 30, 2021 to learn about Article V’s state convention mechanism for proposing constitutional amendments, and how it can be used to impose fiscal sanity on Washington.

Ken Ivory, former Utah State Representative and Chair of both the Convention of States Project’s 2016 Williamsburg Convention and the 2017 Phoenix Convention, served as host and moderator. He was joined by
•  David Walker: former Comptroller General and CEO of the US Government Accountability Office
•  Professor Rob Natelson: Senior Fellow of Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute
•  Dr. Barry Poulson: University of Colorado Economics Professor Emeritus
•  David Biddulph: co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force and Let Us Vote for a BBA
•  Bob Carlstrom: President of AMAC Action, the lobbying arm of the Association of Mature American Citizens
•  Congresswoman and former New Mexico State Representative Yvette Harrell
•  South Carolina State Senator Rex Rice.

Panel Discussion
The expert panel explored a wide range of topics including the existential threat posed by excessive spending and debt to our freedom, prosperity, and national security; the efficacy of amendments and safety of the state-convention method for proposing them; and the current convention application & aggregation landscape. The panel was unanimous in concluding that there is no reason to think Congress will reverse its out-of-control spending on its own: restraints will need to be imposed from the outside, and the United States Constitution puts that responsibility on the shoulders of state legislators.

The Current BBA Landscape
Natelson opined that applications for a plenary convention (one at which any amendment is on the table) may be aggregated with limited-subject applications in order to call a limited-subject convention; but given its track record of antipathy towards Article V conventions, it will likely require intense political pressure on Congress before they will fulfill this responsibility.

There are currently 27 applications for an Article V convention to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment, and 6 for a plenary convention. South Carolina is poised to become the 28th state to pass a BBA application, putting the total at the necessary two-thirds of the states. Senator Rice reported that the application has been approved by the House and passed out of committee in the Senate, where nearly half of the members have signed on as sponsors. He anticipates a floor vote in January, possibly followed by reconciliation.

Mississippi’s application restricts the convention to specific amendment language, and would need to be modified or replaced by an application from another state in order to hold a convention that permits meaningful consideration of multiple options.

Congresswoman Herrell pledged to file a resolution in Congress to call the first-ever Article V Convention in American history upon passage of the 34th application.

Proposed Amendments
Attendees also learned about three possible approaches to achieving fiscal restraint in Washington.
•  Citing a number of states whose legislators find ways to sidestep their state constitution’s balanced budget requirement, Walker advocated instead for a cap on the debt-to-GDP ratio. The advantages of this approach include simplicity; concurrence among economists across the political spectrum that debt-to-GDP is an important metric; its potential to secure bipartisan support; and flexibility for Congress in meeting the objective.
•  Dr. Poulson offered a Swiss Debt Break-style system, which requires controls on spending and equilibrium between spending and revenue. The main advantage of this approach is its documented success in Switzerland.
•  Biddulph presented the Maximizing Americans’ Prosperity plan, which requires that growth in Congressional spending from year to year may never exceed the growth in Americans’ household income. This approach throttles the growth of spending instead of requiring actual spending cuts, which may make it more palatable to legislators and other influencers; and is endorsed by the Fitch credit rating agency.

Biddulph is also organizing political pressure on Congress to designate ratification for this amendment via state convention rather than state legislature, which would give voters a more direct voice in the ratification process. His polling indicates that 83% of respondents, no matter their political affiliation, support this approach.

All concurred that any amendment package must include a mechanism for emergencies like a declared war; transparency measures such as a constitutional requirement for an annual budget and GAAP-style accounting standards; and enforceability through penalties that can be imposed on individual members of Congress.

Carlstrom added that any proposal should address pay-down of existing debt. State Legislator Action Items

Attendees were provided with over a hundred pages of resource material. Ivory wrapped up by encouraging state legislators to step up to the following tasks:
•  Work to pass delegate selection & oversight and state ratifying convention laws
•  Build consensus with colleagues about which fiscal controls make the most sense
•  Begin to identify specific candidates to serve as delegates to the convention
•  Pass an application for a BBA or, better yet, a plenary Article V convention to backfill Mississippi’s application and any others that might be rescinded
•  Encourage their congressional delegation to support the Herrell Resolution to call the convention
•  Join the Phoenix Correspondence Commission

This will be the greatest hands-on civics lesson of our lifetime.

~ Ken Ivory

Many thanks to Karla Jones at ALEC, Mae James at LUVBBA, and Neal Schuerer at Path to Reform for their support in making the Academy possible.

Complete Video Record of the Academy

Here are the video links to the complete, unedited record of the July 30 Academy.

(The individual clips are listed in chronological order)