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Sen. Tom Coburn will focus on Convention of States to limit fed. gov.: ‘We need term limits, we need oversight capability to limit the bureaucracy in terms of its impact on the private sector…And I want to tell you, the country’s tuned for it’

February 6, 2014

2/5/14, Tom Coburn Decides Only A Constitutional Convention Can Fix Washington,” Huffington Post, Jon Ward

Oklahoma Republican “Coburn is exiting the Senate at the end of this year. First elected to the upper chamber in 2004, he had always said he would serve only two terms there. He is leaving two years early. (He also served three terms in the House in the 1990s.)…

When he announced his upcoming retirement last month, it was reported that his decision was based on his being diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer. Coburn insists that the disease — he has already survived colon cancer and melanoma — has nothing to do with his decision to leave….

He has plans to play golf, a game he loves and has rarely been able to enjoy during his time in Washington. And he is going to lend his support to a growing effort in state legislatures across the country to call a convention to amend the Constitution with the aim of limiting the size and reach of the federal government. 

I’m going to be involved with the Convention of States. I’m going to try to motivate so that that happens. I think that’s the only answer,” Coburn said. “I’m just going to go around and talk about why it’s needed, and try to convince state legislatures to do it.”

The Georgia state Senate on Tuesday became the latest legislative chamber to vote to call for a national convention. Similar efforts are underway in Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama and a few other states. Mark Meckler, a former leader of the Tea Party Patriots and founder of Citizens for Self-Governance, the group behind the Convention of States Project, said that he expects 10 to 15 states to make “a serious effort” to pass similar legislation this year. At least two GOP governors who could be 2016 presidential hopefuls, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Ohio’s John Kasich, have said they support the idea.

Under Article V of the Constitution, if two-thirds of state legislatures — or 34 states — call for it, Congress shall convene a national convention, to which the legislatures will send delegates. The convention may propose constitutional amendments, which will then need to be approved by three fourths of the states — 38 in all through votes either in the legislature or at a state convention.
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In recent years, state legislatures have passed measures supporting the idea of a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance its budget, and Kasich in Ohio has actively backed such a move. But the effort mentioned by Coburn is organized not around a specific amendment, but rather a specific subject: “limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.”

It is an idea proposed recently by conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin and since picked up by former Fox News personality Glenn Beck. Around 100 state lawmakers from a reported 32 states met last November to discuss the idea. 

Coburn’s decision to make this a cause of his own is a symbolic shift. He has long railed against the institutional corruption of Washington, arguing that careerism in Congress and self-protection by lawmakers of both parties make the nation’s capital immune to pursuing real reform and to making the tough choices and difficult compromises necessary to get results. 

His decision to leave Congress now and to focus his energies on the national convention idea is a loud statement that he doesn’t believe Washington can be changed from the inside.

“Washington isn’t going to fix itself,” Coburn said. “We need a balanced budget amendment, we need term limits, we need the oversight capability to limit the bureaucracy in terms of its impact on the private sector. … We need to have that discussion. 

And I want to tell you, the country’s tuned for it.“” via Mark Levin twitter

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