Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Proposes Constitutional Amendments to Address Federal Governance Issues

On February 1, 2024, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida held a press conference alongside House Speaker Paul Renner to propose a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution.[0] The proposed amendments, according to Governor DeSantis, aim to address long-standing issues in federal governance and hold Washington accountable for the problems facing Americans, such as weak border policies and unchecked spending.[1]

During the press conference, Governor DeSantis emphasized the success of Florida’s balanced budget amendment and term limits, stating that these measures have proven to work in the state.[2] He called for similar reforms on the federal level, urging Congress to enact amendments that would require a balanced federal budget and impose term limits on members of Congress. These proposals are already supported by resolutions passed in the Florida House.[3]

The governor also proposed two additional amendments. The first would prohibit Congress from excluding its members from any laws it passes, ensuring that federal laws apply equally to both the public and members of Congress. The second would grant the President of the United States line-item veto authority on the federal budget, allowing the president to veto specific portions of spending bills while approving the rest.[4]

To initiate these constitutional reforms, Governor DeSantis called for a constitutional convention, as outlined in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. A constitutional convention can be established if two-thirds of the state legislatures agree to call one for the purpose of amending the document.[4] This approach would bypass Congress and allow the states to directly propose and ratify amendments.

The proposed amendments have already received support in the Florida House, where resolutions for term limits and a balanced federal budget have been approved. Similar resolutions have passed in two Senate committees, but they have yet to be reviewed and approved by the full Senate.[5]

Implementing these amendments would require the support of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures, a process that has been followed for all previous constitutional amendments. The most recent amendment, granting 18-year-olds the right to vote, was ratified in 1971, while the 27th amendment, which delayed congressional pay raises, was not ratified until 1992.[3]

Governor DeSantis argued that Washington is unlikely to reform itself and that it is up to the states to use the tools provided by the founding fathers to take power away from D.C. and return it to the American people.[6] He emphasized the need for incentives that promote good government rather than self-serving government.

House Speaker Paul Renner echoed the governor’s sentiments, highlighting the importance of the proposed amendments in ensuring fiscal responsibility and accountability. He emphasized the need for a line-item veto authority for the president and the equal application of laws to members of Congress.

While the proposed amendments face a challenging path to implementation, Governor DeSantis and House Speaker Renner are committed to pursuing these reforms to address the issues plaguing federal governance. They believe that Florida’s success in implementing a balanced budget amendment and term limits serves as a testament to the effectiveness of these measures and a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow.[3]

Overall, the proposed amendments seek to bring about constitutional reforms that would create a more accountable and responsible federal government, with a focus on fiscal discipline, term limits, equal application of laws, and increased presidential authority. As the debate over these proposals unfolds, their potential impact on American governance remains to be seen.

0. “Ron DeSantis backs 4 proposed amendments to U.S. Constitution” Florida Politics, 30 Jan. 2024, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/655660-ron-desantis-backs-4-proposed-amendments-to-u-s-constitution/

1. “DeSantis calls for Congressional reform, outlines Constitutional amendments” The Capitolist, 29 Jan. 2024, https://thecapitolist.com/desantis-calls-for-congressional-reform-outlines-constitutional-amendments/

2. “Florida Senate passes resolutions in support of balanced federal budget, term limits, others” Florida’s Voice, 1 Feb. 2024, https://flvoicenews.com/florida-senate-passes-resolutions-in-support-of-balanced-federal-budget-term-limits-others

3. “DeSantis implores Legislature to back term limits, balanced federal budget” Florida Courier, 2 Feb. 2024, https://www.flcourier.com/news/desantis-implores-legislature-to-back-term-limits-balanced-federal-budget/article_f6ed92e6-c1d6-11ee-a431-4f0b97209532.html

4. “DeSantis calls for U.S. constitutional amendments on term limits, line-item veto, more” Florida’s Voice, 29 Jan. 2024, https://flvoicenews.com/desantis-calls-for-u-s-constitutional-amendments-on-term-limits-line-item-veto-more/

5. “Legislature backs constitutional conventions on balancing federal budget, term limits” Florida Politics, 1 Feb. 2024, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/656552-legislature-backs-constitutional-conventions-on-balancing-federal-budget-term-limits

6. “DeSantis calls for constitutional reforms to address spending, border” The Center Square, 29 Jan. 2024, https://www.thecentersquare.com/florida/article_5ff2566e-bed5-11ee-a712-2b9e213f772a.html

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