Congressional Term Limits

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!

Congressional Term Limits Amendment Arises Again: Terrible Idea!

A group of conservative Republicans is reviving an idea that failed years ago: Congressional term limits. This is, of course, as likely to happen as men landing on Mars in the next decade! LOL There is no way that Congress will vote to limit its own terms!

This proposal by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, arguably two of the worst members of the Senate in its history, makes sense if you look at the authors of the proposal, but is pure demagoguery for political purposes and would not be a good development were it to happen in reality!

Their idea is that Senate service should be twelve years or two terms, and House service should be just six years, or three two year terms.

The first question that arises is why the difference in term limits for the two houses, which automatically will make it dead upon arrival. What makes the Senate think it is more important, that therefore it should have twice as much time for service than the House?

Secondly, it fails to hold accountable the average American voter who needs to be held responsible for who is in office, by paying attention to the issues and the incumbents’s records while serving. If the people are informed and unhappy at the performance of their public officials, then they have the option every two years to throw out a Congressman, and every six years to dismiss a Senator to retirement.

Third, if we were to limit officeholders to such short terms of service, then it would mean experience and competence would be thrown out the window, and we would lose many competent, outstanding senators and representatives and have them replaced by political hacks who see the position of serving in Congress as a temporary honor with no commitment to doing good service, but rather favoring special interests to promote their own aggrandizement once they leave the brief public service. It would also give congressional staff members ultimate power because of experience having dealt with the issues of government longer than the actual congressional membership.

Public service should be seen as a commitment and welcome the best among us in society, not to banish them after a preset amount of time. Would we want anyone in any field of work who can contribute good service, such as doctors, lawyers, professors, journalists, engineers, etc, to be told they cannot make a career for which they have major ability to contribute, because of the narrow mindedness of some inferior legislators who do not see public service as a calling, but rather an opportunity to promote an ideological agenda?

Do we really want to lose future Henry Clays, Daniel Websters, Robert LaFollettes, Hubert Humphreys, Robert Tafts, Arthur Vandenbergs, Robert Doles, Ted Kennedys, Sam Rayburns, Thomas O’Neills, and many other distinguished public servants?

I say NO, that the answer is not term limits, but imposing real limits on fundraising by pressure groups on political campaigns, and the need to impose real ethics reforms so that Congress will truly represent the viewpoints of the American people, and not the corrupt intentions of corporate interests that make us mistrust our government leaders.

Executive term limits are one thing–on Presidents, governors and mayors–who individually have real ability to abuse power by unlimited terms. But legislators, not having the same individual power as executives, are best left to the term limits established by the American people at the election booths!