In the midst of Hurricane Irma (donate here to help) and on the anniversary of the horrific terrorist event that changed the world, it is appropriate to report on the status of the effort to persuade Congress to partner with the states on the Compact for a Balanced Budget.
You deserve hope for the future.
Here's how we suspect most people envision how the denizens of Washington, DC think about the national debt:
So... just before Labor Day weekend, on behalf of the Compact Commission of the Compact for a Balanced Budget, we sent out a note to most congressional offices in the House and Senate. It said that Nick Dranias would be in town the following week and available to meet to answer questions about HCR73 - the resolution to effectuate the Balanced Budget Compact.
The response over the weekend was overwhelming.
About 100 offices requested meetings in a three day period with less than a week's prior notice, during a holiday weekend. To handle the demand, CEO Chip DeMoss flew in from Houston, Council of Scholars Member Dean Clancy flew in from Florida, and the ubiquitous Baker Spring hit the ground running. And with your support, we were able to handle nearly 80 of the requests.
Especially after the debt ceiling was unexpectedly lifted for three months, here's the mood we found:
Congress recognizes that it has painted itself into a corner. And it is not declaring, "Situation well in hand."
Congress is looking for a way out. Nearly every meeting resulted in a recognition that the Balanced Budget Compact provides the solution. With just simple majorities, Congress can hand the baton to the states to finish the job that it can't.
Of course, we also ran into this:
There is one powerful staffer in one powerful office, the name of which will remain unstated, who is working overtime to oppose the Balanced Budget Compact efforts. The major opposing talking point is that the Balanced Budget Compact requires Congress to pass a law with a presidential signature to "consent" to it. This staffer also opposes state control over the logistics of an Article V convention, wants Congress to set the ground rules, and particularly hates the idea of state oversight over national debt policy.
The short reason is that the necessary congressional resolution is not exercising any lawmaking power whatsoever. HCR73 simply declares that Congress shall be deemed to exercise its Article V convention call and amendment ratification referral duties when the requisite constitutional and legal thresholds are reached under the Balanced Budget Compact. These duties are merely ministerial and fall within the category of parliamentary procedure, not lawmaking. As such, the necessary congressional resolution is just like other ministerial and parliamentary acts that are committed by Congressional rule and practice to concurrent resolutions, which are not subject to filibuster, do not involve lawmaking, and do not require presidential signature.
But as you can imagine, the legal analysis is more detailed than that. So, at the request of the Balanced Budget Compact Commission, we're going to rock out soon with controlling legal guidance to the vast majority of Congressmen and women who want a solution to the national debt policy conundrum from our team of top scholars.