Senate President Haridopolos Sponsors Resolution Urging Federal Constitutional Convention For Balanced Budget
TALLAHASSEE – After the federal government nearly shutdown over an effort to reduce Washington’s deficit spending, Senate President Mike Haridopolos today announced that he will sponsor Senate Concurrent Resolution 4, calling for a federal constitutional convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.
“These are critical times for our country. The federal government is $14 trillion in debt and leaders in Congress needed the threat of a government shutdown before making a modest reduction in the country’s deficit,” said Senate President Haridopolos. “My call for a constitutional convention comes out of concern that our leaders in Washington won’t do what Florida and other states already do – balance the budget. This resolution is an attempt to force them to do what’s right to save America’s future.”
Florida has already proven that cutting spending during difficult economic times can be done. The Senate and House have both reduced spending in their proposed budgets by nearly $3.8 billion. Other states are reducing their budgets as well. Overall most states have provided a blueprint for the federal government to follow. Unlike the states, though, the federal government is not constitutionally mandated to balance its budget.
The Florida Senate passed a call for a balanced budget amendment in 2010, and in an effort to find consensus on the issue with other states, the language in SCR 4 was drafted. The provisions of SCR 4 closely follow the principles contained in Senate Joint Resolution 958, the Smart Cap, which was passed earlier this year by the Florida Senate.
“The lack of a requirement to balance the federal budget means Congress needs additional willpower to end deficit spending, and it’s clear that some will never attempt to do so – unless mandated to do so,” added Haridopolos. “Facing another vote on whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, Congress should follow the Florida Senate’s lead in passing a constitutional amendment to control spending now.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for a constitutional convention if two-thirds of state legislatures call for one. Once a convention approves a proposed amendment, it would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. So far, 21 other states have filed Article V balanced budget resolutions. SCR 4 contains a provision that would withdraw Florida’s Article V application in the case that a convention was called for any purpose other than amending the U.S. Constitution to require a federal balanced budget.
SCR 4 was filed today and will be considered in committee this week.