The bill, which originated in the Georgia House as HB794 under Rep. Rakestraw’s sponsorship, positions the Peach State to be the first to pass the Compact for a Balanced Budget. It now awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature.
State Rep. Paulette Rakestraw announced that on Wednesday, March 19, the Georgia Senate passed by a vote of 30-25 the Compact for a Balanced Budget Amendment. “I am thrilled to see Georgia take the lead to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington,” said Rep. Rakestraw, the lead sponsor of the legislation. Our Georgia lawmakers are saying, ‘Enough is enough’ to the burgeoning $18 trillion federal debt. We are the first in the nation to call for an Article V constitutional convention of states to rein in out-of-control Washington spending.” The Amendment now awaits Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s signature.
Added Rep. Andy Welch, “We are excited to be passing the torch to the governor so he can fulfill his role in leading the Compact and we look forward to governors around the country banding together to balance our federal budget.”
The Compact for a Balanced Budget uses an agreement among the states called an “interstate compact” to invoke Article V of the United States Constitution in order to advance a federal balanced budget amendment. Once the Compact is passed in just two states, it will trigger the organization of a governmental body to coordinate Compact efforts throughout the country, creating a persistent institution with one objective: to pass a federal balanced budget amendment within seven years.
“This innovative reform is the sheet music that orchestrates a symphony of state motions and federal responses, folding hundreds of legislative steps into one simple, laser-focused piece of legislation,” said Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute Constitutional Policy Director who led the drafting of the Compact for a Balanced Budget Amendment.
The Compact approach transforms the otherwise cumbersome state-initiated amendment process under Article V into a “turn-key” operation, empowering the states to agree in advance to all elements of the amendment process that states control under Article V in a single enactment that can be passed in a single session. Thirty-eight states would need to pass the Compact in order to approve the proposed balanced budget amendment, which could in turn by approved by a simple-majority congressional resolution.
Previous attempts at state-initiated balanced budget amendment conventions have encountered roadblocks amongst those who fear the possibility of a “runaway convention,” the scenario in which other key provisions of the U.S. Constitution could be repealed or additional provisions could be added. The Compact for a Balanced Budget Amendment addresses this concern by compelling all member state delegates to follow convention rules that limit the convention agenda to an up or down vote of the balanced budget amendment and to return home if those rules fail to hold.
“I am proud that Georgia has led the way in helping to restore fiscal responsibility to our nation,” said co-sponsor Sen. Hunter Hill, echoing Rep. Rakestraw’s sentiments. “I look forward to other states joining us in this effort.”
Georgia is just one state where the Compact for a Balanced Budget Amendment is moving ahead. The Arizona House passed an identical measure last week and will be considered by a state senate committee Thursday. In Alaska, house members will consider the reform this week. Additional states are expected to take up the reform this year.
To schedule an interview with Rep. Rakestraw, please contact Lauren Talley at (404) 656-0177.