Bills to approve convention for US amendments on way to South Carolina Senate

Multiple bills that would put South Carolina on a list of over one dozen states so far calling for a convention to add a federal balanced budget and congressional term limit amendments are on their way to the state Senate floor.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the proposal along party lines for the most part. 

The convention is just one of two ways of making proposals for amendments to the United States Constitution, but that method has not been used since the Constitution was ratified in 1787.

Supporters of the amendments said that the U.S. Congress is extremely unlikely to agree to give themselves term limits, which would limit its own power, so the traditional method of passing an amendment by a two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate and House followed by a ratifying vote of 38 out of the 50 states is impossible. 

The convention would allow states to use the other way of amending the Constitution, as two-thirds, 34 of the 50 states, are able to call for the convention. Then, the convention could meet and come up with amendments to propose.

Those in support of the South Carolina bills allowing the convention say the state would be the 18th to seek the convention for a balanced budget amendment. Not as many states have approved seeking out the other proposals.

But opponents have said that the Constitution is not specific on the process of how conventions work, and because the method has not been used for over 200 years, the convention could potentially pass amendments that overhaul the U.S. government.

Sen. Josh Kimball, however, said those fears are extreme, and the founders would not have included the provision if they did not think it should be used. “Nobody is talking about putting the entire Constitution on the chopping block. I don’t think the founders intended this to be a self-destruction button,” said the Republican of Spartanburg. 




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