The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Rules passed a resolution Tuesday calling for a convention of the states pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The resolution, HJ 497, now proceeds to the full House for a final vote. “The size and scope of the federal government has gone unchecked for too long,” said House Speaker William J. Howell. “The federal debt has exploded to over $18 trillion, our long-term unfunded liabilities exceed $93 trillion and the federal government continues to overreach and exceed constitutionally-established limitations. A convention of the states will allow the people and the states to amend the Constitution to place real limits on federal power. I am pleased to see this measure pass the House Rules committee and look forward to its final passage on the floor later this week.”
HJ 497 was introduced by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William). This resolution represents Virginia’s formal application to Congress for a convention of the states to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under this resolution, the convention would consider amendments that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.
“More than two-thirds of Americans think our country is headed in the wrong direction,” said Delegate Lingamfelter. “From spending to federal power to judicial overreach, Americans are concerned about the erosion of checks and balances and other constitutional limitations. They’re worried about skyrocketing debt and the long-term fiscal challenges faced by our nation. A convention of the states will allow the states and the people to check federal spending, limit congressional authority and stop executive overreach.”
Article V of the U.S. Constitution requires Congress to call a convention of the states to consider amendments to the Constitution upon receiving applications from thirty-four state legislatures. If passed, Virginia will become the fourth state behind Alaska, Florida and Georgia to pass a resolution calling for a convention on these topics. Eleven other states have filed identical measures this year and 20 more are expected to do the same. The resolution does not require the Governor’s signature.
The committee also passed HJ 499, introduced by Delegate Jim LeMunyon, which calls for a convention of the states specifically limited to a balanced budget amendment.