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Ohio congressman launches effort to force U.S. to balance budget

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s renewed push for a Balanced Budget Amendment is apparently contagious.

Even as Kasich called for the state to push a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution last week, U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers was finishing up months of research to launch his own push for a balanced budget amendment.

Stivers commissioned a poll finding support for the issue in the state and has identified a list of “target” states that could potentially be added to the 22 states that have already passed a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment and is beginning to reach out to political leaders in those states. And he has been in touch with state Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, as Burke prepared to reintroduce legislation calling for such an amendment. Burke introduced the bill yesterday.

“This is an issue I’ve believed in for awhile,” said Burke, who said he’s been working with Stivers on the issue for the past few weeks.Stivers’ targets include Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine — all states with Republican governors and Republican majorities in the state legislatures — and the 10 states that passed, but later rescinded resolutions calling for a constitutional convention.

It would take 34 states to call for a constitutional convention and 38 states to ratify a constitutional amendment.

Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, who said he’s cosponsored bills in the U.S. House calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment for nearly as long as he’s been in the House, said he’s been researching approaching the issue from the state level since last fall.

He had not talked to Kasich before Kasich announced last week his own push for a Balanced Budget Amendment, but said Kasich’s announcement may give the movement a much-needed push.

“We’re identifying folk in the states who will do the kind of thing Gov. Kasich did, which is become a champion in the state and really start pushing it,” he said.

“It’s encouraging to see, very refreshing,” said Scott Milburn, Kasich’s communications director. “This movement is going to need solid partners like Steve Stivers if we’re going to have any hope of saving our country.”

Stivers is also pushing a poll he commissioned from Harper Polling, a national polling firm that asked 498 Ohioans between June 26 and June 27 about how strongly they feel about a Balanced Budget Amendment. The poll found that 94 percent of Ohioans felt that a Balanced Budget Amendment should be an important priority for voters across the state.

He said he’s pushing for a state route to a constitutional amendment because a congressional route “isn’t going anywhere.”

“Introducing another bill is more of a media stunt than getting something done,” he said, given the status of current bills pushing the issue. “We need the states to make something happen.”

Stivers represents all or parts of 12 Ohio counties in Congress including Clinton, Madison, Fayette and Franklin.

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