The 13 Most Popular Constitutional Amendments of 2017 (Among Members of Congress)
While completing my list of joint resolutions under the Congressional Review Act, I ran across about 50 joint resolutions introduced in the 115th Congress that propose to amend the U.S. Constitution. I decided to sort through them to find the 10 most popular proposals. I calculated popularity by figuring the percentage of the House of Representatives' or Senate's membership that cosponsored each joint resolution. Because of ties, I ended up with 13 resolutions instead of just 10. You can keep the change and find brief summaries of each below.
10. Tie: H.J. Res. 1 (Balanced Budget), H.J. Res. 61 (Flag Desecration), and H.J. Res. 65 (Presidential Elections) - 5% of the House.
>H.J. Res. 1 was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) on January 3, 2017. Section 1 would prohibit total federal outlays for a fiscal year from exceeding total receipts, unless a 3/5 majority in each house agreed otherwise. Section 2 would prohibit total outlays from exceeding 20% of U.S. economic output, unless a 2/3 majority in each house agreed otherwise. Section 3 would require a 3/5 majority in each house to increase the federal debt limit. Section 4 would require the president to submit a proposed budget to Congress before each fiscal year. Section 5 would require a 3/5 majority in each house to increase federal revenues. Section 6 would permit Congress to waive the above requirements in certain circumstances involving military conflicts.
H.J. Res. 61 was introduced by Representative Steve Womack (R-AR) on February 2, 2017. It would empower Congress to "prohibit the physical desecration" of the U.S. flag.
H.J. Res. 65 was introduced by Representative Gene Green (D-TX) on February 7, 2017. It would provide for election of the president and vice president by popular vote, rather than by the electoral college.
9. H.J. Res. 2 (Balanced Budget) - 7% of the House.
Like H.J. Res. 1, H.J. Res. 2 was introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) on January 3, 2017. It is similar to H.J. Res. 1, discussed above, but with some alterations.
8. H.J. Res. 6 (Term Limits) - 7% of the House.
H.J. Res. 6 was introduced by Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on January 3, 2017. It would limit representatives to three terms (six years) and senators to two (12 years). It would not count any terms that began before the amendment's ratification.
7. Tie: H.J. Res. 48 (Corporate Rights & Election Regulations) and H.J Res. 74 (Voting Rights) - 8% of the House.
H.J. Res. 48 was introduced by Representative Richard Nolan (D-MN) on January 30, 2017. Section 1 would strip constitutional rights from "[a]rtificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities." Section 2 would require federal, state, and local governments to "regulate, limit, or prohibit" (presumably election-related) contributions and expenditures by anyone.
H.J. Res. 74 was introduced by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) on February 15, 2017. It would expressly grant every citizen of legal voting age the "fundamental right to vote," giving Congress authority to enforce that right.
6. S.J. Res. 2 (Term Limits) - 12% of the Senate.
S.J. Res. 2 was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on January 3, 2017. Its provisions are identical to those of H.J. Res. 6, discussed above.
5. S.J. Res. 6 (Equal Rights for Men and Women) - 13% of the Senate.
S.J. Res. 6 was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on January 20, 2017. It would provide that "[e]quality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged . . . on account of sex." It also empowers Congress to enforce its provisions.
4. H.J. Res. 31 (Election Spending) - 22% of the House.
H.J. Res. 31 was introduced by Representative Theodore Deutch (D-FL) on January 24, 2017. It would expressly authorize the federal government and states to regulate and set limits on campaign fundraising and spending to influence elections. It would also permit the federal government and states to distinguish between natural persons and "artificial entities, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections." However, it would allow neither the federal government nor states to abridge the freedom of the press.
3. H.J. Res. 33 (Equal Rights for Men and Women) - 23% of the House.
H.J. Res. 33 was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on January 24, 2017. Its provisions are identical to S.J. Res. 6, discussed above, except that it adds, "Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction."
2. S.J. Res. 8 (Election Spending) - 38% of the Senate.
S.J. Res. 8 was introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) on January 24, 2017. Its provisions are identical to those of H.J. Res. 31, discussed above.
1. S.J. Res. 24 (Balanced Budget) - 49% of the Senate.
S.J. Res. 24 was introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch on February 27, 2017. It is similar to H.J. Res. 1, discussed above, but with some alterations.