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Missouri legislators seek vote over any increase of national debt limit

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 28, 2011 - Amid all the Missouri Legislature's attention to state issues like the budget and Proposition B, members of the state House want to make clear they're still paying attention to what's happening in Washington.

State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis, plans to lead a news conference next Monday afternoon in the House Lounge that will focus on the proposal he has sponsored -- House Concurrent Resolution 19. HCR 19 calls for a constitutional amendment to "require that an increase in the federal debt be approved by a majority of the legislatures of the separate states."

As it stands, it's now up to Congress to approve any increase in the federal debt. With the debt limit expected to be reached this spring, some Tea Party groups and other conservative activists oppose increasing the limit.

Gatschenberger's proposal is among several, sponsored in various states, aimed at elevating the states' influence -- and clout -- over Congress.

Gatschenberger plans to be joined by co-sponsors and other legislative allies. Also joining the group is Nick Dranias, who serves as director for the Center for Constitutional Government and is a member of the Goldwater Institute; both groups advocate changes in the federal Constitution.

The effort is in line with the activities of some legislators and Tea Party activists over the past year in opposition to the federal health care changes, and some recent calls to reject federal aid to Missouri public schools.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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