Today, Senator Mike Braun spoke on the Senate floor to voice his support for a Convention of the States to amend the Constitution, and introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would make it easier for the American people to call a Convention of the States as outlined in Article V of the Constitution.
In his speech, Senator Braun criticized Congress’s failure to pass a budget, relying instead on “continuing resolutions” which kick the can down the road for months at a time.
Senator Braun also took the Senate to task for spending with yearly $1 trillion deficits, contributing to the $30 trillion of national debt, $45 trillion in debt we’re heading to based on President Biden’s spending blueprint, and the inflation crisis hurting every American family.
Senator Braun called for a Convention of the States to be held to amend the U.S. Constitution with constitutional amendments that would add term limits to the House and Senate and require a balanced federal budget.
Braun introduced an amendment to the CR that would specifically direct the Archivist of the United States to publicly publish applications from States for a Convention, and to notify Congress when the Constitutional threshold (two-thirds, or 34 states) has been met. This Constitutional threshold for a Convention has been met twice before, most recently in 2021, but Congress failed to call a Convention. Senator Braun’s amendment would add some structure to the process, make the State petition count transparent, and help hold Congress accountable to public desire for a Convention.
Article V of the Constitution lays out the two processes for amending the Constitution: through Congress, or through a Convention of States where amendments would need to be ratified by three-quarters of all states. Americans overwhelmingly support term limits for Congress regardless of party affiliation.
Trafalgar Polling Group conducted a poll on a Convention of the States in July: 81% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats, and 63% of Independents said they wanted a Convention of states to address term limits for Congress, federal spending restraints, and limiting the federal government to its constitutionally-mandated authority.
Senator Mike Braun on his amendment and the need for Constitutional amendments for term limits and a balanced budget:
My home state of Indiana is America’s heartland. I have traveled to every county in my state for nearly four years now.
This year I visited farms and small businesses and talked to people fighting every day just to make ends meet.
The American people are strong and resilient, but they are represented by a government that is not necessarily the same.
The U.S. Congress is broken – in my opinion – beyond belief.
When the American people look to their capital, they see a twisted knot of lobbyists, corporate interests, and a mountain of debt that just gets higher and higher.
We now spend over $1 trillion more than we bring in every year. We’re on the path to being $45 trillion in debt, according to our own President’s blueprint.
We’re twiddling our thumbs while our kids’ and grandkids’ future goes up in smoke. Every American family is paying for D.C.’s failures.
Congress as a whole, and this body in particular, seem to have no interest in turning the ship away from the rocks.
In the past year I’ve given this body four chances to take real action to fix this mess.
- I offered a complete federal budget that would match our spending and our revenue within 10 years, and protect Social Security, Medicare, and defense. 34 Senators voted for it.
- I offered an amendment that if we fail to get our budget and appropriations bills done by the deadline, we don’t get paid until we do. 47 Senators voted for it.
- I offered an amendment to cut pet project earmarks from a huge spending bill as America tumbled into an inflation crisis. 35 votes.
- I offered an amendment to require a balanced budget like so many states have. 47 votes.
Clearly, this place lacks the backbone to fix itself. But the American people deserve better.
The Framers of our Constitution saw this coming. They created a system of checks and balances to hold the government accountable for our actions, or our inactions.
Congress isn’t just balanced by the Supreme Court and the President, but also by the States.
Article 5 of the Constitution gives the States the power to pick up the slack when Congress refuses to act.
I believe the House and the Senate desperately need two things: Term limits, and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
These two solutions alone could turn D.C. around in a big way.
With term limits, we’d get a better class of Representatives and Senators. With a balanced budget amendment, we could finally get control of our massive deficits and the inflation it causes.
If two-thirds of the States petition to call a Constitutional Convention, we could take power away from the D.C. establishment and put it back in the hands of the American people.
But the Swamp knows this. That’s why each time the right number of petitions have been filed, Congress refused to call the Convention.
The last time was as recently as 2021.
Today, 32 States have active applications for the Convention. We need 34.
This plan is extremely popular.
In July an opinion poll by Trafalgar found that 65% of likely voters would support a Convention of States to propose amendments focusing on term limits for Congress, federal spending restraints, and limiting the federal government to its constitutionally-mandated authority.
That means 81% of Republicans, 63% of independents, and 50% of Democrats want this.
There is no federal government body managing this process. It is too easy for Congress to ignore the States to keep more power for themselves.
My amendment would direct the Archivist of the United States to publish the States’ applications calling for a Convention.
The Archivist would then notify Congress when the Constitutional threshold has been met.
It adds an extra layer of transparency and accountability to the process, designed to close the omission in Congress’s responsibilities under Article 5.
America is the most powerful country in history because we are founded on the rock of the Constitution.
The Framers were wise to include a tool for the people and the States to act when Congress refuses to.
And considering how broken and dysfunctional Congress is, and the dire threats we face from our debt and inflation crisis, the American people would be wise to use it.
When each of us was sworn in as Senators, we didn’t swear our allegiance to our political party.
We didn’t promise to support the Washington establishment or to defend our own jobs.
We swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
It is in support of the American people and in defense of the Constitution that I have come to the floor today.
And I will be talking about again it between now and the middle of December.