Tag Archives: Constitutional Amendment

Term Limits in Congress?

From time to time, someone in Congress asks that the Constitution to be changed so that Presidents could be elected to more than two terms, thus repealing the 22nd Amendment.  This is recently exemplified by Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) who did the very thing early in January.  He actually has good experience in calling for such a proposal.

dingell_official-thumb-200x280-43What about calling for term limits on members of Congress? As of today, nine Congressmen have been in office for over 36 years.  Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) (pictured) has been in office for over 57 years.  Two Senators have been in office for over 36 years as well.  Congressmen and Senators can serve in office for unlimited elected terms.  Congressmen serve two year terms, while Senators serve six year terms.

Fifteen state legislatures have term limits.  Thirty-six governors are limited as well.  Why not Congress? After the 1994 Republican Revolution in Congress, where the GOP won both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, reform-minded Congressmen put term limits to a vote.  The vote was in the form of a Constitutional Amendment in 1995.  It failed.  Then three other versions of term limit legislation failed in the House.  After all, it would very difficult to pass a bill in the House, where you are asking the members themselves to support something that would put them out of work.

Some believe that term limits would bring a new face and new vision to the legislative body.  With that new vision comes new ideas.  Others say that term limits would unfairly limit the terms of those Congressmen and Senators who are doing a decent job for their constituents.  It is sort of like saying that you wouldn’t want to throw out the good with the bad.

As for Congressman Serrano?  He has been in office since 1993.

What are your thoughts on limiting the amount of terms a Congressman or Senator can serve?  How many terms would you limit them to?