The 3 federal balanced budget amendment plans, at a glance

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2015 12:32 PM

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows legislatures in 34 states, or two-thirds, to convene a convention for proposing constitutional amendments. Amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the states, or 38.

Three proposals that have circulated at various times in state legislatures seek constitutional conventions to enact a federal balanced budget amendment that would limit congressional spending power. A brief look at each:

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Convention of States

Goal: To convene a constitutional convention with the aim of ratifying several amendments to restrain the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. These include a federal balanced budget amendment, limiting federal taxation authority, reducing federal spending and regulatory power, prohibiting using international treaties or law to govern domestic law, limiting presidential executive orders and imposing term limits on certain offices, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Number of approving states needed: 34

Number of states achieved: 4 (Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia)

Key endorsers: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, all Republicans.

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Compact for America

Goal: For three-fourths of the states to approve identical federal balanced budget amendments before a constitutional convention is called so the resulting convention holds only a single vote on the pre-approved language. Under this system, there also would be no need for a second round of state ratifications.

Number of states needed: 38

Number of states achieved: 4 (Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi and North Dakota).

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Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force

Goal: To convene a constitutional convention with the exclusive aim of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment.

Number of states needed: 34

Number of states achieved: 27 (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah).