Howell plans to kick off the repeal amendment push by bringing a bill calling for a Constitutional Convention to the floor of the Virginia legislature this January. If he can get 2/3 of the states to go along with calling for a Constitutonal Convention, then that would trigger one of the two amendment processes under Article Five of the Constitution.
This, of course, is not the standard way the Constitution has been amended in the past. Amendments usually emerge from the Congress, which must pass them by a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate before sending them to the states to be ratified by a 3/4 vote.
In order for that to happen, of course, Howell would need allies in the Congress willing to hand over federal veto power to the states. He may have found his ally in Cantor, a fellow Virginian who is the number two man in the large Republican House majority that will be sworn in this January.
Appearing on Fox Business last week, Howell said that Cantor "was very interested" in the proposal and promised that he had "several members" of Congress who will put forward the Amendment in the House when the 112th Congress convenes in January.
Cantor's office confirmed to TPM that the incoming Majority Leader is interested in the Repeal Amendment, but said that so far Cantor is simply urging his colleagues to keep "an open mind."
"The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around," Cantor said in a statement. "In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction."
Read Cantor's full statement on the Repeal Amendment below:
Washington has grown far too large and has become far too intrusive, reaching into nearly every aspect of our lives. In just the past few years, Washington has assumed more control over our economy and the private sector through excessive regulations and unprecedented mandates. Our liberty and freedom has lessened as the size and scope of the federal government has exploded. Massive expenditures like the stimulus, unconstitutional mandates like the takeover of health care, and intrusions into the private sector like the auto-bailouts have threatened the very core of the American free market. It's time to return America to the common sense conservative principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual responsibility. The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around. In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction.