Former Sen. Jim DeMint joining group pushing for a constitutional convention that could rewrite the ConstitutionBreaking News
tags: Constitution, Jim DeMint, constitutional convention
Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, ousted last month as head of the Heritage Foundation think tank, is joining a fast-growing, conservative movement that is pushing states to seek a constitutional convention to rein in federal spending and power.
DeMint, a prominent figure among the Tea Party activists who helped Republicans seize control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, will serve as a senior adviser to the Convention of the States Project, providing a jolt to its efforts to marshal grassroots support for a state-led movement to amend the U.S. Constitution.
News of DeMint’s role was provided first to USA TODAY, and a formal announcement is expected Monday.
Under Article V of the Constitution, there are two avenues to propose amendments: Two-thirds of each house of Congress can vote to do so or two-thirds of the states – 34 in total – can request the convention.
In either case, three-fourths of the states – or 38 states – must ratify any amendment proposed by convention delegates.
The USA has not held a constitutional convention since the first one in 1787, but proponents of a state-led conclave see growing momentum for their cause. Twelve states already have adopted the group’s call, and its leaders hope to add 10 to 15 next year. A separate effort demanding a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment already has the support of 27 states.
“The Tea Party needs a new mission,” DeMint told USA TODAY. “They realize that all the work they did in 2010 has not resulted in all the things they hoped for. Many of them are turning to Article V.”
DeMint and other proponents of a state-led convention say the timing is right. Populist anger with Washington helped sweep President Trump into office. At the state level, Republicans now dominate, controlling both legislative chambers in 32 states and governors’ mansions in 33. “This is a perfect time for us,” DeMint said. “People are disgusted with Washington. They are ready to move power back closer to home.”
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