“An increase in the federal debt requires approval of the legislatures of the separate states.”
At present, Congress has virtually no restraints over its creation of new debt, allowing the national debt to grow at astronomical rates and leaving a burden of debt to our children and grandchildren. The national debt also creates a burden on states over which they presently have little say.
Because the NDRA requires Congress to get approval of a majority of states before increasing the national debt, it effectively requires a “co-signer before they can give themselves a new credit card” (Nick Dranias, Director, Center for Constitutional Government, Goldwater Institute). This will impose fiscal discipline on Congress.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution outlines the two ways that amendments can be proposed and the two methods by which they may be ratified. For either method, the process was designed to build a wide consensus among the American people and to assure frivolous amendments were not added to the Constitution.
With the first method, Constitutional amendments can be proposed by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate). The proposed amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, meaning that 38 states must ratify the amendment for it to be added to the Constitution.
Second, an Amendments Convention can be called by two-thirds of the state legislatures to propose an amendment to the Constitution. The proposed amendment must still be ratified by three-fourths of the states to become an amendment to the Constitution. This is the method underway to give the states a voice in our national debt.
No. The states have no power to change our Constitution at a convention. They can only propose amendments. Any amendment that is approved is sent back to Congress. If Congress deems that the convention stayed within its original call, then they are required to send the amendment to the state legislatures for ratification. The ultimate protection is that unless and until 38 state legislatures agree to ratify an amendment, our Constitution is untouched.
Video 1: Could a Convention Run Away? Video 2: Can a Convention be Limited? Video 3: Could the Delegates Rewrite the Constitution? PDF: Goldwater Institute’s 10 Facts to Rebut the Mythology of a Runaway Convention
In order to avoid legal challenges and to insure Congress recognizes the common will expressed in the state resolutions without applying judgment or discretion, it is important that the states maintain consistent language. The model resolution drafted by RestoringFreedom.Org meets this requirement and limits the convention to the single topic of the NDRA.
This is a legal requirement that varies by state. The resolution must be titled correctly in order to be legally binding.
No. In a legitimate national emergency the state would step up promptly. In addition, a significant flow of cash is available to the Federal Government at any time to reallocate to any crisis. Under the current system, authorizing, issuing and selling bonds takes time. The NDRA is not expected to add any significant time to this process.
The biggest difference is that the National Debt Relief Amendment (NDRA) locates the discussion on national debt at the state legislatures rather than in Congress as with a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). This gives the American public a great voice in whether the U.S. should incur more debt.
In addition, there are numerous versions of the BBA, all of which are complex and which provide loopholes for Congress to get around these amendments. In contrast, the NDRA is simple and easy to understand, and will be automatically enforced by the debt market.
These two amendments complement each other should both be passed.
To learn more, download this PDF for a more in depth discussion.
The NDRA is a non-partisan issue. The federal debt has increased under both parties, and the NDRA does not prescribe taxes or spending cuts, only that Congress address the fiscal deficit or make its case for more debt to the state legislatures and the American people in an open and transparent manner.
Absolutely. The simplicity of the concept and the non-partisan nature of the amendment have already gained widespread support for the NDRA. Add to that the increasing concern among states and citizens to solve the national debt crisis, and it’s clear that the NDRA is a powerful idea whose time has come.