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 GrassleyFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts Overnight Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable' MORE (Iowa) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (Utah) introduced a balanced budget amendment, while Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments 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 McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week 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 Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats 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.