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Tea Party Express pushes for balanced-budget amendment

The Tea Party Express is launching a national campaign to push for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Congress’ historic shortcomings in passing a Balanced Budget Amendment have forced our hand. It’s time for America to unite around the Article V Convention to cap federal spending once and for all,” the conservative group said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Balanced-budget amendments have always failed because, not only does such a proposal need a two-thirds majority to pass in Congress, but at least 38 states also would have to ratify it. 

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Amendments proposed in Congress would bar the federal government from spending more money than it takes in through taxes, and they have also contained requirements for raising taxes and raising the debt ceiling.

A number of lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah), have introduced their own versions of balanced-budget amendments in the new Congress. President Ronald Reagan one dubbed Hatch “Mr. Balanced Budget.” The Tea Party Express said it supports Hatch's proposal.

But because of the procedural hurdles involved, approving such a measure, even in a GOP-controlled Congress, is far from likely. 

“But, we are not going to wait for Congress to act," the Tea Party Express said. "With only ten more states needed to call an Article V Convention, we’re ready to launch a national campaign that mobilizes citizens in 15 targeted states so we can achieve the necessary 34 states to get a Convention called."

According to the group, 24 states have already approved resolutions calling for a Convention of States. 

The group said it’s promoting the campaign in 15 other states: Oregon, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Idaho, Wyoming, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Arizona and Virginia.