Republicans Push Constitutional Amendment to Impose Term Limits on Congress

Republican lawmakers kicked off the new year by proposing a Constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on members of Congress.

The bill introduced by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Rep. Francis Rooney and co-sponsored by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, and Georgia Sen. David Perdue, would limit senators to two six-year terms and House members to three two-year terms, CNN reported.

"For too long, members of Congress have abused their power and ignored the will of the American people," Cruz said. "Term limits on members of Congress offer a solution to the brokenness we see in Washington, D.C. It is long past time for Congress to hold itself accountable. I urge my colleagues to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification."

There are currently no limits on how long members of Congress can serve, though there are limits on the number of terms a member can have on a Congressional committee.

The amendment is not likely to pass since it would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and would then have to be ratified by at least 38 states. No Constitutional amendment has been ratified since 1992.

Cruz opponent backs term limits too:

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who faced off against Cruz in his reelection race and has been rumored as a presidential contender, called for Congressional term limits in 2018.

O’Rourke called for 12-year limits in both the Senate and House, an idea he has repeatedly proposed since 2013.

“We see that the longer you serve in Congress, the less connected, the less responsive, the less accountable you can become to the people you represent,” O’Rourke wrote. “And we recognize that imposing term limits on members of Congress — along with getting PAC money out of our politics and putting an end to gerrymandering — will help breathe new life and new ideas into our democracy.”

Trump backs term limits too:

“I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits,” Trump tweeted last year. “I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts.”

Experts warn against term limits:

“Political scientists say limiting how long lawmakers can stay in Washington would only empower the infrastructure surrounding Congress, like lobbyists,” The Washington Post reported. “There are no rules about how long these professionals can stay, so they can spend years gaining expertise on the intricacies of legislating that term-limited members of Congress simply wouldn't or could never have.”

“If members are restricted to only serving a few terms,” Molly Reynolds, a congressional expert with the Brookings Institution, told The Post, “the logic goes, they have neither the time nor the incentive to develop the relevant expertise they need to be good at their jobs. If members don’t have that expertise themselves, they’re more likely to rely on outsiders, including lobbyists, to replace that expertise.”


Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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