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House Votes to Join Initiative to Cut National Debt

House Votes to Join Initiative to Cut National Debt
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U.S. Constitution

Mississippi lawmakers are not just focused on the state's budget, they're debating the national debt.

Mississippi legislators in the House voted 76 to 42 to join the "Convention of States." The goal of the initiative is to add amendments to the U.S. Constitution to cut federal spending. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the national debt is over $21 Trillion. Bruce Cook is with the organization.

"There's a limit in everybody's budget to how much you can spend and still make ends meet and we're over that limit right now," said Cook.

Cook says it takes 34 states to request that Congress hold a convention. Then all 50 states would offer proposed amendments to reduce the national debt. Ultimately 38 states would have to ratify amendments for them to become law. House Republican Dan Eubanks of Walls spoke in favor of the resolution.

"Our Founding Fathers foresaw a day when Congress or the federal government may grow too large or incapable or unwilling to restrain itself and we're in that position right now," said Eubanks.

House Democrat Christopher Bell of Jackson is against the Resolution. He says there's no limit to the amendments that could be offered.

"You can have any other amendment which could include banning abortion totally. You could have a ban on who is elected, term limits so there's a myriad of things that could come out of this," said Bell.

Professor Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law doesn't see the initiative working. He says getting states to agree is highly unlikely.

"There hasn't been an amendment of real consequence, of the kind of import that these legislators are talking about in our life time and it's because the process requires such a high degree of consensus," said Steffey.

The Resolution now goes to the Senate for consideration.