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 GrassleyTop security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts Lame-duck Congress should pass First Step Act The Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office MORE (Iowa) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war Dem lawmaker pledges hearings after CIA briefing on Khashoggi MORE (Utah) introduced a balanced budget amendment, while Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Biden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report Julián Castro launches exploratory committee for possible 2020 White House bid 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 McConnellGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Overnight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war 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 ClintonCohen once teased Hillary Clinton about going to prison. Now he's been sentenced to 36 months The Hill's 12:30 Report — Cohen gets three years in prison | Fallout from Oval Office clash | House GOP eyes vote on B for wall Contest offers 'Broadway play and chardonnay' with Clinton 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.