QUESTION #1: Since you left the United States Senate, you’ve been involved in what is called the “Article 5 movement.” What is it and why have you chosen to invest your time in this effort?
Sen. Tom Coburn:
“…the Article 5 movement is looking at the Constitution and Article 5. Our founders gave us two ways with which to affect the Constitution. And Colonel George Mason rose during the Constitutional Convention, asked his fellow attendees if they ever knew anytime in history where a central government voluntarily ceded its power back to the people. And, of course, the answer to that was no; it never happened.
Cincinnatus gave up control of the Roman army, and George Washington gave up control of the army as well and limited his term, but those are the only two exceptions. And so, the Article 5 movement is to use that portion of Article 5 to restore the Constitution in a way that continues the success of our country.
And if you look at what’s happened to us, we’ve seen the central government grow and grow and grow, and it’s become more and more expensive. We’ve seen the consolidation of the central government; the federal government, not balance its budget. And we’ve seen that even though politicians may be well intended, when it comes to making hard choices they’d rather get reelected than making the hard choices that are good for our families.
Article 5 allows us, if we have two-thirds of the states, to call an amendment convention. It’s very specific to whatever the application for that convention is, and all states participate in it and simply make recommendations back to the states. And it requires 38 states, just like if the Congress had proposed an amendment to the Constitution. It requires three-quarters of the states to approve it.
So, the movement is really strong. We have about 2.4 million volunteers throughout the country. We have 12 states that have already passed it. And here’s the reason to do it.
If somebody could show me after my 16 years in Washington a better way to return us to a bright future, then I’d jump onboard with them. But this is what our founders gave us that’s big enough to fix the problem, as big as it is, and secure liberty for the future and not sacrifice our children.
So, what I’ve done is, since I left the Senate – and I left the Senate voluntarily two years early – and I left, though, because I looked and said we’re not going to fix it here.
The people here, although they’re nice, great people, when it comes to making the hard choices- they’re not going to make them. And the examples that I would have for you is, we know that we have $124 trillion in assets and liabilities right now that’s going to fall on the Millennials, but nobody’s doing anything to fix it.
We know we waste $500 billion a year at the federal government level. Nobody wanted to help me fix that. So, if it’s not going to get fixed there, our founders said you have the opportunity, as a citizen, to fix it. And so that’s what we’re about; creating a grassroots army of people who love this country, who want to restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government, and the balance of power between the three branches, and give us the future that we were promised.”
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