Posted on 05 May 2010.
By Debi Brazzale, COLORADO NEWS AGENCY
A call for a constitutional convention stipulating a balanced budget for the federal government was made from the confines of a House committee room Tuesday by a GOP lawmaker–but panel members voted against sending the message to Congress via a legislative resolution.
Sponsored by Spencer Swalm of Centennial, House Joint Resolution 1031 would have added Colorado to the list of several other states that have adopted such a resolution calling for a constitutional convention, Swalm told the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee.
Swalm says that neither party has the political will to deal with the national debt, and believes the states need to send a strong message to Congress that there is a growing willingness among the states to call for a convention.
“The purpose of this resolution is to stiffen the spine of our leaders in Washington and to say this is something that we need to do…we need to get our fiscal house in order,’ said Swalm .
Brian Del Grosso, a Republican from Loveland, believes that the federal government should look to the state of Colorado and to ordinary citizens as a model, because they are subject to balanced budget principles.
“It forces us to be like everybody else in the real world who has to balance their own budget and asking the federal government to do the same is not out of line,” said Del Grosso.
Rep. Louis Court, D-Denver, took exception to Del Grosso’s assertion that the people have a better handle on their finances than the government.
“The fact is, is that Americans are addicted to debt. We have 14.6 million dollars in credit card debt in Colorado,” said Court. “I’m not certain that Coloradoans are all that good about reining in their debt.”
Committee chairwoman Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, told the panel that she could not support the measure as a resolution, but she believes that other avenues should be pursued to address the problem of accumulated debt by the federal government.
“I do not believe that us sending a resolution to Washington is the answer,” said Todd. “It is citizens speaking up . It is meeting up with our congressional delegation and saying ‘this has got to change.’”
Joining the Republicans in voting for the measure was Rep. Ed Casso, D-Commerce City, who thinks that a balanced budget amendment is the right thing to do for both current and future generations.
“As long as the General Assemblies of the country keep kicking the can down the road, we’re not going to get anywhere with the debt we have accumulated,” said Casso. “[The debt] we are putting on our children by not requiring a balanced budget is unwarranted and uncalled for. “
The measure failed 6-5.