By Matthew Burns

Raleigh, N.C. — An effort to rein in federal spending by amending the Constitution suffered a setback Thursday when North Carolina refused to join the push for a convention of states to propose such amendments.

Under Article V of the Constitution, states can call a convention to propose amendments as long as two-thirds of the states agree to do so. No such convention has ever been held since the Constitution was ratified in 1788.

The state Senate passed a resolution in April to make North Carolina the 13th state calling for a constitutional convention, but after an hour of debate Thursday afternoon that included historical references to the Founding Fathers, dystopian visions of a nation drowning in red ink and a comparison of the Constitution to a microwave, the House voted the idea down 53-59.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, implored his colleagues to support the resolution, saying the growth in federal spending has saddled the U.S. with $20 trillion in debt, and the growing deficit will eventually crush the nation.

“Washington will not fix the problem because Washington is the problem,” Jones said. “By failing to act, we become part of the problem. We’re aiding and abetting the process by digging our nation into a deeper and deeper black hole of debt.

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