Congressional Age Limits

Age Limits In Congress Arise As Issue As John McCain Plans For Another Term In Senate In His 80s!

As Senator John McCain of Arizona announced that he will seek another six year term in the US Senate, which would bring him into his mid 80s in that chamber, the question arises of some type of age limits that needs, desperately, somehow, to be applied in the future.

The number of octogenarians who have served in the Senate is, by research, somewhere in the mid 30s, out of a total number of Senators since 1789 numbering, at this point, 1,973 in total!

So one might say that having about 1.6 percent of all US Senators lifetime in their 80s or 90s is not a big deal, but it actually is, as level of health and well being, while fine for some, realistically, is not overall good statistically for people in their 80s, with dementia a particular problem and early death a statistical likelihood. Really, when one has reached the ninth or tenth decade of life, no matter how good in performance one has been, and no matter how much one feels he or she can do and contribute, it is, simply, time to allow someone new and younger to serve a Congressional district or state!

No one is indispensable, and that should include Supreme Court Justices as well, as the likelihood of excellence at such an advanced age is highly unlikely, but often, it is just stubbornness and ego that keeps these government leaders in their positions.

Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Barbara Boxer of California realized this, and on the other hand, Diane Feinstein of California did not, Chuck Grassley of Iowa did not, Orrin Hatch of Utah did not, Richard Shelby of Alabama did not, James Inhofe did not,and now John McCain has not. Additionally, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will reach 80 in the next few years, and yet, it is really time to go, gentlemen!

Do we really want Senators possibly reaching their 90s in office, as Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Theodore Green of Rhode Island, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and Carl Hayden of Arizona did, reaching the ages of 100, 93, 92, and 91 in office?

Enough is enough, and age 80 should be the limit with no exceptions, and therefore, one would not be permitted to run for office past age 74 at the time of the election, so that they leave during the year they reach age 80!

in other words, we need a “youth movement” in the United States Senate, as well as in the House of Representatives, so it is time for such luminaries as Michigan Congressman John Conyers and New York Congressman Charles Rangel to stay goodbye at the end of their present term of Congress!

A Need For A Constitutional Amendment To Insure Ability Of Any President To Promote His Or Her Agenda

It is very clear that there is a dire need for a constitutional amendment to insure that when a President is elected, that he or she is able to set goals and get them accomplished, as the present stalemate makes it impossible.

The concept that a member of the House of Representatives should have to be, constantly, engaged in raising funds for every election on a two year basis, is long overdue for change, as it would encourage more attempts to accomplish an agenda, if the term was four years, instead of two. Since 90 percent of the House, on the average, wins reelection every two years, it would be much better if election campaigns only occurred in Presidential years, once every four years.

If a Presidential candidate has enough coattails to carry in a majority of his or her own party, all to the good, as it would make our government, therefore, more productive. If the election for the Presidency is close, then the President might have to deal with an opposition Congress, but the election results will indicate the need to promote compromise to get things done. With the House knowing it faced elections in only every Presidential year, that would encourage more across the aisle negotiations, to show evidence that these members of the House are trying to achieve the ideas and programs that the American people have made clear should be the priorities.

As far as the US Senate is concerned, an amendment should be advocated that would either make the members of that body serve a four year term in tandem with the House in Presidential years, OR have half the Senate elected every four years, and the other half at the next four year cycle of Presidential elections, making for an eight year term for each Senator. Since most Senators also get reelected, under ordinary circumstances, it would not be harmful to make their election cycles become, also, less often, so the eight year term is better than the four year term.

At the same time, such an amendment for both Houses of Congress should set a term limit that would be enforced for the future, with no member of the House or Senate to have more than a maximum of 32 years, meaning eight House terms or four Senate terms, with the only variable being that a different half of the Senate is elected every Presidential election year, with each state having one Senator elected at one election, and then each state having the other Senator elected in the next Presidential election year.

Since the average person has a 30 year career before retiring, requiring no more than 32 years would make it likely we would have fewer members of Congress at very advanced ages, although there would not be an actual age limit per se!

Commentary on this idea of a constitutional change is invited!