The Senate State Affairs Committee narrowly approved a proposal calling for a constitutional amendment to limit federal government spending power.
The bill's sponsor, Sen.Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, and former Idaho Senator Larry Craig testified in favor of calling for a convention of states to propose a federal balanced budget.
"States have been working on this," Hagedorn said. "We hear the cry of no runaway convention, protect our Constitution. We get that, and we've been working on that for many years."
After hearing almost two hours of public testimony against the bill, the committee voted 5-4 to move the legislation to the Senate floor.
"I share your goal of reigning in federal spending," Karleen Davis, opposing the bill, said. "Senator Hagedorn and Senator Craig provided clear-eyed statements of the problem, but this resolution will not help. In my opinion, it will not help to accomplish this and it will open this great country to enormous risk."
Either 34 states or two-thirds of both houses of Congress can call for an amendment. Approval from 38 states is needed to approve amendments.
The proposal is expected to be heard on the Senate floor sometime next week.