Members of the Florida House of Representatives are pondering a concurrent resolution that calls for a constitutional convention for the sole purpose of adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require the federal government to balance its budget.
Introduced by Florida Rep. Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island), HCR 703 would “call a convention limited to proposing an amendment to the Constitution requiring that, in the absence of a national emergency, the total of all federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated federal revenues for that fiscal year, together with any related and appropriate fiscal restraints.”
If accepted, the concurrent resolution would make Florida the latest state to call for a constitutional convention specifically to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In all, 26 other states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming, have already passed and transmitted applications to Congress calling for such a convention, according to the Urban Institute, a Washington-D.C.-based think tank that conducts economic and social policy research.
Under Article V of the U. S. Constitution, new amendments can be proposed via constitutional convention if two-thirds of the states call for one.
The federal requirement would mimic balanced budget requirements (BBRs) already in place by 49 other states. Those BBRs limit governments’ capacity to increase debt through deficit spending by imposing statutory restrictions on sending power, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) said.
HCR 703 is currently before the States Affairs Committee of the Florida House.