GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention

GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention
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A group of GOP state legislators spent four days last week in Phoenix outlining how to run a constitutional convention that would pave the way for new amendments mandating a balanced budget and possibly congressional term limits.

Nineteen states including Arizona, Iowa and New Hampshire had representation at the meeting, according to The Associated Press, though no Democrats were present. Thirty-four states would need to sign on to the movement to call a new constitutional convention, which would be the first since the one that drafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787. 

All 27 amendments since adopted have been proposed by Congress.

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The idea of amending the Constitution has been popular in some conservative circles. In January, GOP Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (Iowa) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed Overnight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill MORE (Utah) introduced a balanced budget amendment, while Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) called for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Congress.

President Trump called for congressional term limits during his campaign last year, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) has more than once thrown cold water on that idea.

Such plans have also received backing from Republicans including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

A slew of conservative activists, such as mega-donors Charles and David Koch and the American Legislative Exchange Council are pushing for a constitutional convention to limit the size of the government.

Across the aisle, Democrats worry that the GOP is close to controlling enough state houses to call a constitutional convention.

Former presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE even spoke out about such efforts in the recent media blitz over her new memoir, calling it a radical proposal from the right.

"There’s a big move for change coming from the right that I think would be disastrous for our country. They want radical, pull-em-up-by-the-roots change, they want to have a constitutional convention to rewrite our Constitution to make it friendlier to business, to inject religious and ideological elements," she told Vox.

Clinton has said that she backs a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling on campaign finance reform.