Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has endorsed a Constitutional convention to drastically alter U.S. government, specifically to set term limits for members of Congress and federal judges as well as pass a balanced budget amendment (video below).
Rubio, while campaigning in Iowa for the GOP presidential nomination, has been stumping with the promise to throw his weight behind a Constitutional convention.
"One of the things I'm going to do on my first day is office is I will put the prestige and power of the presidency behind a constitutional convention of the states," Rubio said on Dec. 29, according to NBC. "You know why? Because that is the only way that we are ever going to get term limits on members of Congress or the judiciary and that is the only way we are ever going to get a balanced budget amendment."
Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution allows for the states to come together to create sweeping changes to federal law. The last time this happened was in 1787, according to Florida Politics.
Rubio wants to use the measure to impose term limits on members of Congress and federal judges, both of whom can otherwise serve indefinitely. He also endorses using a Constitutional convention to install a balanced budget amendment, which would block states from spending more than they get in revenue.
GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has used the prospect of a Constitutional convention to illustrate the public’s frustration with Congress but has stopped short of fully endorsing it. Former Minnesota Gov. Mike Huckabee has also praised the measure.
Rubio is the first candidate to make supporting a Constitutional convention a campaign promise. Grassroots group Citizens for Self-Governance founder, Mark Meckler, has praised Rubio for giving voice to the measure.
“I’m glad to see it enter the mainstream of presidential politics,” Meckler told The Washington Post. “With over a million activists in the fight, I’m not surprised. People understand that the fix will not come from Washington, D.C., itself, and must be imposed by the people through a convention.”
While a Constitutional convention can prove to be an effective way of pushing conservative legislation, it could also have unforeseen consequences, Rubio cautioned.
During an October 2015 campaign stop in New Hampshire, Rubio was open to the measure but also voiced reservations, according to The Washington Times.
“Just make sure that we know how it is going to turn out because if you open up the Constitution, you are also opening it up to people that want to reexamine the First Amendment, people who that want to reexamine the Second Amendment, people that want to reexamine some other fundamental protects that are built into the Constitution,” Rubio said.
“But ultimately there is a provision that exists for citizens to amend their Constitution and reexamine it, and if our citizens want to do that, I will be supportive of it,” the senator continued. “But just be aware that the same groups that are trying to pass legislation that violates the Constitution are the same groups of people that are going to try to change that Constitution, and we are going to fight them at that convention.”
Do you think a Constitutional convention is a good idea?