Tooting my own horn, one of the most important columns I’ve ever written was in April this year on the subject of a Constitutional Convention. This followed January 2017’s piece, “Congressional To-Do List.”
It is urgent that the American public, half of whom (I contend) are un- or ill-informed, must coerce changes in federal-government processes to “get the job done” before it is too late for the nation. Let’s revisit these important subjects in order to remind every reader and responsible citizen to become one of those honest leaders.
The public relies on Congress to make laws on important subjects for citizens. On the agenda for action are matters including tax-rate (especially for business) reduction; removal or changes to trade and other international agreements; debt control and deficit reduction; federal spending cuts; reduction of stultifying regulations; and changes in social-management laws such as health care.
None of these items have been addressed in a meaningful way in the first half of 2017. All of these items are of critical national importance, but Congress has not done its job. This is not a partisan complaint; it’s the truth.
The 1st and 10th amendments to our Constitution state that citizens have rights to convene a convention to modify this critical document of our founding. As cited in April, 34 states can call for a convention and, although never tested in practice, can call for amendments to the Constitution. Twenty-eight states have already approved measures for a Convention to propose/require a balanced federal budget. And, while never tested, it is deemed likely that any number of matters of the public interest can be added to a convention agenda if the citizens coerce the convocation of that convention.
Therein is the major problem, but one that is entirely solvable. Citizens must merely contact their state officials and determine the procedures to call for a convention and then perform those procedures. Every state has different methods, so it is up to every state’s honest leaders to start the process.
It is suggested that, for broadest appeal in a convention definition process, that all hot-button issues be listed on the agenda calling for the meeting by all the states. This list may contain all of the following (and others):
- Congress must be responsive to public interests. Failure to perform is grounds for member dismissal.
- Federal elected Senators and Representatives may be recalled by citizen-initiated processes.
- Federal elected persons must be term-limited.
- Elected members cannot be exempt from ordinary citizen’s requirements.
- Federal regulations issued by Executive agencies may be referred to practical appeal.
- The federal budget must be balanced annually, exempted by 75% vote of each chamber.
It is further suggested that state representatives to the convention must pass knowledge tests and other competency evaluations in order to represent their state’s interests. They are excluded from consideration for making any financial contribution to any elected member.
Understand that no Senator or Representative has EVER been recalled by the electorate. No process exists in the Constitution for removal –
this being a condition requiring remedy. The only means for a federal elected person’s removal from office is expulsion by peers, which has happened 20 times in U.S. history. Based on 2011 available data, 150 recall elections have happened nationally, with 75 successful and nine more resigning under threat.
Too much is at stake for America’s well-being and future to allow Congress incompetence, partisanship and obstructionism to hold sway. This is an urgent plea for U.S. citizens to take this matter to heart and do something useful to stimulate and lead the process of forcing (even threatening) Congress to do its job. Establishing the recall methodology is a good and practical start.
Columnist George Will recently observed: “Neither political party today is recognizably committed to the liberty movement.” Honest leaders are committed.