AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Governor Greg Abbott tweeted “Boom” in celebration of the Texas Legislature approving a call for a “convention of states.”
The idea is for lawmakers in 34 states — representing two-thirds of the nation — to bypass Congress and approve convening a gathering to amend the U.S. Constitution, including things like a federal balanced budget amendment.
Somewhat less bombastically, the governor also released a statement calling the approval “an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government.” That’s more like it. But a step to where, exactly?
Texas is the 11th state to approve the latest round of “convention of states” calls. This also, however, marks the 17th time that Texas has approved calls for a gathering to amend the Constitution since 1899. State lawmakers previously wanted ones for a host of reasons, including prohibiting bigamy and opposing government-mandated busing that integrated public schools.
In fact, Congress was so quaking in its boots about the prospect of states mutinying and convening a confab to alter the Constitution that at virtually the same time Texas was approving its call, the U.S. House was passing a new health care law without waiting to see how much it will cost — potentially adding billions to already mountainous federal deficits.
Convention of states supporters say that’s the point since Congress won’t stop out of control spending until the states force it to. Abbott even declared endorsing a convention of states one of his just four “emergency items” for the Legislature, so getting this far is a win.
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