Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution Unlikely to Lead to Federal Action

The Kentucky Senate passed a resolution Tuesday calling for a constitutional convention on a balanced federal budget amendment. The vote was strictly along party lines, with one exception.

If Congress refuses to act on a constitutional amendment favored by the states, the states can force a constitutional convention. It’s never happened before, but U.S. Senator Rand Paul says it’s time, because Congress refuses to approve a balanced budget amendment.

“If we do nothing with spending, within a decade entitlements and interest occupy the whole budget. Think about that. The whole budget! No money for defense. No money for roads. No money for education. No money for anything if we don’t reform the system,” he says.

After listening to Senator Paul’s comments on the Senate floor, 22 Republicans joined the call for a constitutional convention. But Republican Senator Julie Denton joined the chamber’s 15 Democrats in opposing the resolution.

“I do have some concerns, as to what this could mutate into,” she said. “Congress now has the ability to limit its spending and it has chosen not to and I do have concerns about where this would go.  It’s going to pass anyway, but I doubt that it’ll pass in the House.  So I don’t know that it much matters, but I vote no.”

Two-thirds of the states pass similar resolutions to force congress to act. To date, at least 22 states have done so, but each state’s resolution is worded differently.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.