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October 2016 Policy Study, Number 16-3


How To Restore Federal Fiscal Sanity: The State Legislatures Hold The Key


How Can We Get A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment?



Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows only two ways to propose a Constitutional Amendment:


  1. Congress, by two-thirds vote of both Houses, may propose one or more amendments.

  2. Two-thirds (34) of the State Legislatures may require Congress to call a convention to propose one or more amendments.

Then any amendment, whether proposed by Congress or by a convention, must be ratified by three-fourths of the states – either by the State Legislature or by special state conventions.  Congress decides which method of ratification is used.  To date, Congress has submitted all proposed amendments to the State Legislatures, except the amendment repealing prohibition, which was submitted to state conventions.




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