Efforts to Amend the Constitution


There have been plans by the American states to amend the constitution so that there is a constitutional requirement for the federal government to enact a balanced federal budget. A balanced federal budget is would prohibit the government from spending more than it earns through taxes. This has been a concern to the states due to the budgetary deficit the United States has constantly had from the 1990’s.


The rationale here is that if a majority of the states have enacted a balanced budget and it has worked for them, then the federal government can also enact the same and it should be able to function fine. This amendment has been prompted by the current debt that the government keeps piling. The states are concerned and have decided to take action and exploit the fifth article of the constitution. As a matter of fact, the states that are on board so far (28 in number) have indicated plans of holding a constitutional convention to discuss the matter.

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An amendment to the national budget must be done through an amendment to the constitution rather than a change in federal law. This is due to the fact that the constitution does not explicitly place a cap on the budget and the federal law may not place a cap either since it is subject to the supreme law of the land (the constitution). Additionally, enacting a federal law would be loose since the threshold for changing a law is lower that than of changing the constitution. From this perspective, a different regime with the correct numbers can change the law to suit its budgetary requirements (Wines).


Changes to the constitution are much weightier than changes to the law. They are harder to reverse and thus are preferable for ensuring long-term compliance. Federal laws, on the other hand, are usually flexible and require a lesser threshold to amend or change.



Wines, Michael. Inside the Conservative Push for States to Amend the Constitution. February 2017. Web. 08 February 2017.