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Balanced Budget Amendment Legislative Debate Handbook

December 16, 2015

A handbook prepared for state legislators considering an Article V application for a Convention of States on the single topic of proposing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

As the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Task Force has promoted its Article V BBA application throughout the states, we have repeatedly run into the same worn out arguments in opposition that have simply no merit in fact or law. We recognize that state legislators, with all the important issues facing them, don't always have the time or resources to become Article V experts.

This booklet is intended to provide you in succinct fashion the information you  need to successfully floor debate and rebut the meritless opposing arguments. When arguing in support of an Article V BBA resolution, feel free to direct your naysayer opponent to this booklet for "a fuller and more complete response” to the question posed. If you are a skeptic, feel free to review these materials and their source data. We have yet to find any scholarly material which can successfully rebut the facts and law set forth herein.

The BBATF is only six states short of meeting the threshold requirement for calling the first Article V convention of states in this country's
history. It will be truly historic. As is pointed out herein, it will by no means be the first convention of states ever held, only the first called pursuant to and under the auspices of Article V. We have abundant historical precedent from which to draw in determining in detail what the scope and parameters are of a convention of states called pursuant to Article V. There are numerous court decisions expounding on Article V. In those cases, the courts looked to the numerous conventions of states held during the founding era to provide guidance on the meaning of Article V.

Thus, when the naysayers claim that we are opening up a Pandora's Box by calling an Article V convention, they simply don't know what they are talking about. The First Amendment's sacrosanct protection of freedom of speech is but 10 words, but no one could ever claim that we don't understand its scope and parameters. We have fleshed those out over the years in court decisions and historical practice. The same can equally be said of Article V and its procedure for a convention of states.

The time to proceed is now. As Ohio Governor John Kasich has said about our crippling national debt and the fear of using Article V to stop it, "We are standing inside a house that is burning down around us, and we are afraid to go outside for fear that we might get hit by a meteor." May this booklet give you the information you need to stop our country from burning itself to
the ground in bankruptcy.

David Guldenschuh is a leader in the nationwide movement of states to call a convention of states pursuant to Article V of the U.S.