The Texas House has passed a resolution calling for a national convention of states Thursday, officially making Texas the 11th state to support a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.
Senate Joint Resolution 2, which had passed the Senate in February, calls for bringing the states together to propose amendments to the Constitution intended to limit federal overreach and federal spending and to impose term limits on U.S. officials. For a constitutional convention to actually take place, 34 states must be on board.
This resolution was largely spearheaded by Governor Greg Abbott, who in January unveiled his grandiose plan to amend the U.S. Constitution through a constitutional convention for the first time since 1787. He outlined possible amendments in his book, Broken But Unbowed. He made passing the convention of states resolution one of four emergency items this legislative session. And when it finally passed on Thursday, he proudly tweeted: "BOOM."
"Today marks an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government and returning power back to the states and their respective citizens as our Founders intended," Abbott said in a statement.
To justify the resolution, Republican lawmakers contend "the federal government has ceased to abide by a
proper interpretation of the United States Constitution" and "the federal government has abused its power by creating a crushing national debt through improper and imprudent spending." Most of this criticism dates back to the Obama administration, when Governor Greg Abbott, previously as Texas attorney general, and current Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Obama a combined 48 times, mostly for federal overreach.
After Donald Trump won the presidency, Abbott suggested at his State of the State speech that he did not believe Trump would be a solution, saying, "This isn’t a problem caused by one president. And it won’t be solved by one president. It must be fixed by the people themselves.”
In Abbott's drawing book, he's proposed at least nine amendments to the Constitution, including allowing two-thirds of states to override a federal law or U.S. Supreme Court decision; requiring seven Supreme Court votes instead of a simple majority in order to "invalidate a democratically enacted law"; and prohibiting Congress from regulating activity that only takes place in a single state.
As the Texas Tribune reported, several Democrats called the resolution hypocritical given Republican lawmakers just voted to give local law enforcement officers federal immigration powers with SB 4.
“We’re talking about your so-called federal overreach, and yet your own party suggested last week to all of us that we want to have more of the federal government in our backyard,” said Representative Roland Gutierrez. “Ronald Reagan is long gone and dead in the Republican Party, and he’d be rolling in his grave.”
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.