Nebraska Joins Call for Convention of States to Amend US Constitution

Nebraska Joins Call for Convention of States to Amend US Constitution
A copy of the U.S. Constitution during a House hearing on Dec. 17, 2019. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Nebraska on Jan. 28 became the 17th state to push for a convention of states to make changes to the U.S. Constitution—an unconventional process that’s never been used before.

Under Article V of the Constitution, calling a convention to amend the U.S. constitution would require approval from two-thirds of U.S. states, or 34 of 50 states. According to the National Constitution Center, the measure is used to bypass Congress, but has never been accomplished before.

Constitutional amendments can also be made if two-thirds of both chambers of Congress agree on a proposal and it is ratified by three-fourths of states. Since the U.S. Constitution was adopted, 27 amendments have been made.

The Nebraska Legislature in its resolution, similar to other states, put forward changes that will “impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”

State lawmakers reached a compromise with an amendment that would let the call expire in February 2027.

Nebraska state Sen. Steve Halloran, a Republican who sponsored the resolution, told Fox News that he believes an “overreach on the part of the federal government” is driving states to push for change.

“The Founding Fathers had anxiety that that might happen,” Halloran said. “I don’t believe they imagined that it would get to this point.”

Halloran decried the $30 trillion national debt as “unsustainable.”

“It’s become abundantly clear with the history of Congress that they have no sense of limiting their spending and the accrued debt that’s happening upon our nation,” Halloran said.

“We have effectively kicked that can down the road on repayment of any of that, but we cannot kick the can down the road every year,” he added.

The senator called on other states to join on calls to amend the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s an exercise in what the Constitution is,” he said. “I think it would be a great civics lesson once it happens.”

In a message aimed at state leaders, Halloran told Fox News he believes the nation can no longer be operated on “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

He separately told Newsweek that states need to move to exercise their constitutional authority by “proposing amendments through an Article V Convention of States to restrain the federal government from driving our country into insolvency.”
According to the Convention of States Action, so far Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Utah have approved a call for the convention, while 24 others are considering doing so.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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