Term Limits Constitutional Amendment Proposed

Yesterday, four Republican members of the United States Senate introduced a resolution that would create a constitutional amendment requiring term limits for members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives – two terms in the Senate and three terms in the House of Representatives. The legislation’s sponsors were Jim DeMint, Sam Brownback, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Tom Coburn.

brownback and hutchisonThe curious thing about two of these senators is that they announced a long while ago that they don’t intend to run for re-election anyway. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Sam Brownback have declared their intention to retire from the Senate, so the constitutional amendment wouldn’t even apply to them – just to their successors.

Justifying the amendment, Senator DeMint said, “As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to buyoff special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork — in short, amassing their own power.” Then again, even if there are term limits, the interests of U.S. Representatives will skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to please special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork — in short, ammassing their own power.

In fact, term limits could exacerbate such problems, by accelerating the revolving door between corporate lobbying and Congress. Without any lasting power base in the electorate, corporations could merely sponsor candidates to do their bidding. Without any retention of experience and power in the Congress, there would be even less legislative ability to oppose the will of corporate CEOs than there is now.

3 Comments

on “Term Limits Constitutional Amendment Proposed
3 Comments on “Term Limits Constitutional Amendment Proposed
  1. If term limits would exacerbate the problems, what is the answer? How about abolishing pensions and grossly preferential treatment for members of congress? Also, can an amendment be written to abolish lobbyists?

  2. I disagree. Term limits would simply make it cost prohibitive for corporations and other countries to “buy” influence through lobbying. One important factor in contribution decisions is that the candidate has a reasonably “sure” prospect of being elected. The name recognition and prior donated “war chest” of incumbents make it virtually impracticable to unseat them and deters many qualified citizens from wasting their time in running for the offfice. Most contributions come into a candidate after they win….not before because of this anticompetitive fact.. Legislation could be passed with a generous insurance and stipend after two terms which a congressman/woman would loose if participating in lobbying.

  3. I was struck (and am still ‘haunted’) by a comment made by Senator Brownback in 2009, while speaking to a gathering of the National Electrical Contractors Association in Washington D.C., which I will paraphrase and went somewhat like this, “I am in favor of term limits and I am going to practice what I have preached, I am going to move on. Don’t get me wrong, being a Senator is a pretty good gig – I’d love to stay – it’s great!. But I feel I need to move on to allow others to have a chance to help run our country. You can’t tell me we can’t find 100 other competant people every 12 years (2 Senate seat terms) across our country to do a good job representing us.” With all due respect to the late Senator, Ted Kennedy was there just way too long. America does NOT need a “royal family.” Sure, we need leaders whom we respect and admire. Further, I’m not saying Kennedy was not smart, nor am I saying he lacked the ability to get things done in congress. I’m saying, “Get out of the way” because you’re not the ONLY smart person. Kennedy’s lock on his senate seat was close to a dictatorship. He had way too much “brand name recognition” and took advantage of it. I say, “Give up your seat, and allow for some other competent citizen fulfill their duty.”

    Therefore, let’s set term limits in place, just like the presidency has, to keep one person from dominating; that’s a democracy. We won’t have to completely rely on the great honor of those like Senator Brownback and George Washington, who understand this principal, and who are willing to “move on” rather than be tempted to run again and again.

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