Republican leaders in Tennessee this week joined state Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) and Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) to voice support for House Joint Resolution 548 which calls for a convention of the states to consider a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. The legislation has over 50 co-sponsors in the House. The introduction of the resolution follows several other states which have already passed or are in the process of considering the same measure.
“It is time the states take the power and authority granted to them by Article V of the constitution and propose an amendment to rein in the reckless spending of the federal government,” said the proposal’s sponsor, Rep. Powers. “It is crucial this be addressed, and Washington’s failure to act has the states taking action.”
Speaking on Tuesday to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) at their annual Day on the Hill, Speaker Harwell endorsed the idea and praised Representative Powers’ efforts. “Congress remains mired in partisan gridlock with no end in sight, and has run up a debt of over $17 trillion. We need to send a message that in order for America to prosper, Washington needs to get its fiscal house in order.”
Other conservative leaders across the state also support the resolution, and have created an online petition through which citizens can voice their support at www.fixthedebt.us.They had the following to say in support of House Joint Resolution 548:
“One of the most difficult things Tennessee does each year is balance our state budget. We are required to by our constitution, and it’s time Washington is required to as well. I am proud to sign on as a co-sponsor to Representative Powers’ resolution,” said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga)
“Over $17 trillion in debt is completely unsustainable, and our children and grandchildren will unfairly bear this burden. Tennessee is one of the lowest debt states in the nation, and it’s time Washington, D.C. followed our example,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin)
“Congress has the authority to propose a balanced budget amendment, but obviously we're not anywhere near critical mass for that to happen. NFIB members are encouraging the states to act, as they are authorized under Article V, before the tsunami of debt and lack of entitlement reform inundates free enterprise,” said Jim Brown, Tennessee state director, National Federation of Independent Business
“We will be judged by our children and grandchildren on this issue. Why, they will ask, did our parents and grandparents allow this to happen? Why, they will ask, did they not take action when it was clear that runaway spending and debt was crippling the nation? We must accept responsibility now. I am 100 percent supportive of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution,” said Ben Cunningham, conservative grassroots activist
Twenty states have already passed a resolution calling for a convention to pass a federal balanced budget amendment. Once 34 states do so, Congress is required to call a convention and set the date and location. Subsequently, 38 states must then ratify any changes to the constitution in order for them to take effect.