Economy Government Politics

How State Legislatures Could Rein in Federal Bills Like Pelosi’s $3.5 Trillion HR 5376

The hottest news item as of the date of this writing (Nov 1, 2021) is Nancy Pelosi’s 1700-page, multi-trillion-dollar HR 5376 spending bill. Jammed forward at the 11th hour, it has gone before Congressional committees with insufficient lead time to even print out the bill let alone read it and understand it!

Remember the phrase “… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” in the preamble to our Declaration of Independence? How can any politician claim that the insane, blow-out spending in HR 5376, virtually undebated in Congress, has the “consent of the governed”?

Hear, for example, Rep. Jason Smith’s sharp critique of HR 5376 in the video below.

Clearly We the People need to do something different, something stronger than just the tired-old “elect better people”, sign a petition, write a letter to our Congressman, etc. We need something fast-acting, powerful, and fundamental, yet fully within the law and our Constitution.

This is the first in a series of short articles showing how a candidate “Power Check” amendment to the Constitution, like the one below, would empower our state legislatures to rein in overreaches by our Big Govt DC politicians (in both parties).

In the context of HR 5376, consider Section 1, Clause 2 of the amendment below.  That clause would make it pointless for Big Govt politicians to have even tried to ram through such massive spending legislation because 30 of our 50 state legislatures would be empowered to reduce any line item in the bill to zero or some more reasonable amount.

— Candidate Amendment to US Constitution —
To Check the Power of the Federal Government

Section 1. 
The several state legislatures, by a three-fifths majority vote, shall have the power to:

(1) repeal, in whole or in part, any law passed by Congress,
(2) reduce any line item in any appropriations or other spending legislation,
(3) vacate, in whole or in part, any ruling of the Supreme Court or any inferior federal court,
(4) cancel, in whole or in part, any Presidential executive order or guideline,
(5) withdraw, in whole or in part, any regulation issued by any Federal agency or department.

Section 2.

(1) In any action under this amendment, each state legislature shall have exactly one vote, and none of the actions shall be subject to federal judicial review.
(2) Each action shall become effective on the day that the three-fifths-majority requirement is met.

Once ratified (admittedly no small feat*), if a House Speaker ever again has the temerity, the gall, the chutzpah, to declare:

We have to pass it before you can see what’s in it,

We the People can say

Go ahead — make my day — and when we do see what’s in it, we will strike it down, in whole or in part. And you will have no recourse but to pull back, slow down, and negotiate with We the People through our state legislatures.

Barely 140 words long, this amendment would drastically change federal government behavior because virtually any abuse they can come up with can be reversed, almost overnight, by We the People through our state legislatures.

Note also that per Section 2, Clause 1, there is no appeal permitted by DC politicians in any federal court, including the Supreme Court. That is how it should be, and should have always been, in a government where We the People are the ultimate authority, not Congress, not the president, and certainly not nine black-robed, unelected justices serving for as long as they themselves choose.

Amendments like the Power Check, Term Limits, Balanced Budgets and several others can become a reality via the Constitution’s Article V.

The alternative is to stand idly by while DC’s Big Govt politicians drive us all right off a cliff with still more monstrous overreaches like HR 5376.


*See this article for more discussion on the concept of a Power Check Amendment, where this one came from, and one of the citizen-driven national programs by which it may be ratified (Convention of States). Please also watch for future articles (links to be added here) about how this draft amendment could empower state legislatures even before it is ratified.

By David Leeper

David Leeper is a retired engineer living in Scottsdale, AZ, with his (first) wife of 51 years. For 14 years he was a volunteer science teacher at and is now a volunteer reader for the visually impaired on a National Public Radio affiliate.

In David's fun-filled 40-year career, he held positions from lab technician to technical vice president at AT&T Bell Labs, Bellcore, Motorola, and Intel. He holds 16 US patents in telecom technology and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

During his career, David wrote mainly for technical journals, including Scientific American. Since 2011, he has written over 1000 political commentaries, mostly for the former Western Free Press and now for his personal site

3 replies on “How State Legislatures Could Rein in Federal Bills Like Pelosi’s $3.5 Trillion HR 5376”

Your amendment covers multiple sins. This would be so effective to rein in an over-the-top abuse of power not only in Congress but silliness and cowardice from SCOTUS. No more “pass the bill” before knowing what’s in it!

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