U.S. Rep. Tom Marino calls for Constitutional convention
WYSOX TOWNSHIP - U.S. Rep. Tom Marino is calling for a Constitutional convention to pass amendments that he said would change Washington "like never before."
Marino discussed his proposal at a meeting last week in Wysox Township of the Bradford County Council of Republican Women.
Marino said he wants delegates at the Constitutional convention to pass amendments that would institute term limits for congressmen, prevent Congressional leaders from blocking bills that are passed by a committee from progressing to a vote on the floor, and prevent more than one subject from being included in a bill.
"If we change these three things, you'll see Washington change like it never has before," Marino said.
In March, the Michigan Legislature called for a Constitutional convention, and by some counts, it is the 34th state to pass such a resolution, according to Fox News.
The threshold of 34 states is significant, because it represents a two-thirds majority of the states. If two-thirds of the states ask for Constitutional convention, Congress is to call such a convention, according to Article V of the Constitution.
However, some of the 34 states have rescinded their request for a convention, since initially calling for one.
There is disagreement among Constitutional scholars whether a state Legislature that has called for a Constitutional convention can "take back" its request, according to Fox News.
Marino said that U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has spiked a lot of important legislation, which Marino said shows why Congressional leaders should not be allowed to prevent legislation that a committee has passed from coming to a vote on the floor of Congress.
"We have passed 52 bills in the House of Representatives that cut spending, downsized the government, lowered taxes, and downsized the red tape and permitting that we have to go through to build things in this country," such as factories, he said. "But they sit on Harry Reid's desk, and he will not take it to the floor for a vote. I think that's criminal for one person to prevent a vote from going to the floor."
Marino said that members of Congress should be limited to serving 12 years - 6 terms for a House member and two terms for a senator.
"There is always someone smarter, with more fire in the belly, coming behind you, and if you can't get accomplished in 12 years what you set out to do, you should have gotten out six years earlier," Marino said.
Marino has proposed legislation that would limit bills to one subject, but so far, the House leadership has blocked it from coming up for a vote, according to Marino's chief of staff, Bill Tighe.
"I'm tired of seeing bundles of bills in one package," Marino said. For example, he said, he might be asked to support a measure that needs to be passed for the benefit of senior citizens, but which is bundled with a measure that he doesn't like.
If the three amendments were added to the Constitution, "we'll be able to accomplish what we haven't been able to accomplish in the last 50 years - a balanced budget, downsized government, and keeping taxes low," Marino said.
Marino has proposed a Constitutional amendment in Congress to impose term limits on members of Congress, but so far it has also not been allowed to come up for a vote on the floor of the House, according to Marino's chief of staff, Bill Tighe.
A number of people at the meeting expressed concern that holding a Constitutional convention could open the door to other amendments being passed at the convention that would not be in keeping with the goals of the founding fathers.
Amendments passed at a Constitutional convention must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: email@example.com.