Stockton College Republicans sponsored a discussion about Article V of the United States Constitution led by the Convention of States Action(COSA) volunteers, Jim Collinsworth and Todd Lund. Article V of the Constitution allows states to call a Convention of States to propose constitutional amendments to limit federal spending, debt, and regulations.
Collinsworth and Lund presented a series of statistics and logistics to the initiative which is the Convention of States Action. The prominent issues identified in the presentation were the debt and spending crisis, as well as term limits. This is a bipartisan issue that does not lean to one side or the other in the amount being overspent and not reciprocated back to the people. To date, the national debt has reached over 30 trillion dollars and continues to climb.
The national debt climbing leads to the cutting of other programs including Medicare and Social Security, two programs that are projected to run out of funds over the next few years. Additionally, the Federal Reserve has been slowly increasing interest rates over the past year, leading to a recurring effect of rolling over new bonds that will maintain the national debt. This is one of many reasons why a Convention of States is gearing up to be put together to address this issue.
Statistically in New Jersey, for every dollar that the Federal government receives, NJ gets $0.75 back, and there is about a $4000 deficit per person between the amount paid in Federal taxes and the amount returned for state improvements. A breakdown of the $6 trillion dollars that the government spends goes as follows: 67% of spending goes to mandatory spending (Medicaid/Social Security), 28% to discretionary spending, and 5% goes to interest on the debt. These statistics in the presentation broke down how both parties are spending federal dollars and where exactly taxpayer dollars are being spent.
This led to the next issue of term limits to bring decisions back to the states and people instead of those who do not represent the majority of citizens. About 94% of career politicians get reelected each term in both Democrat and Republican parties. Legislators such as Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and Charles Grassley have all been serving in political positions for 35 years or more. Collinsworth and Lund explain that these positions being held by the same individuals over a long period of time have led to lobbyists seeking out the top few whereas their initiative for a Convention of States would seek to push those lobbyists to have to work more locally.
The Convention of States Action’s plan is to call a Convention of States to limit the power of the Federal Government by pushing citizens to ask legislators to sponsor and support the Convention of States Resolution. Then a state legislator would need to sponsor the resolution and discusses it with other legislators. The Convention of States Resolution must pass out of the committee and then the floor votes in both chambers of state legislators. Thirty-four must pass the resolution to call a Convention of States, and can send as many delegates as the state wishes but each state only gets one vote. Delegates debate, propose, and vote on amendments at the convention, but the Amendment is only valid if ratified by 38 states. If 13 states vote against the Amendment then it can not be ratified. Topics such as abortion rights and gun laws cannot be called to question or revised as those impede other Constitutional amendments and rights.
Students can get involved by going to COSAction.com and sign-up for a variety of volunteer opportunities or signing the team’s petitions. There are over 5 million volunteers already and COSA is eager to take on more to help with their initiative to bring back power to the people.