Let’s limit the terms in Congress!

5 Jun

Members of the Senate may serve unlimited six-year terms and members of the House may serve unlimited two-year terms. The abuse will be unlimited!

  • In the 1990s, reformers put congressional term limits on the ballot and the main Republican Party platform was to pass legislation setting term limits in Congress.
  • A proposed amendment limited members of the Senate to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms. The amendment was never passed.

https://www.boundless.com/political-science/textbooks/boundless-political-science-textbook/congress-11/congressional-elections-81/congressional-terms-and-term-limits-447-1558/

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill, or the Capitol Building, houses the United States Congress.

Reformers during the early 1990s used referendums to put congressional term limits on the ballot in 24 states. Voters in eight of these states approved the congressional term limits by an average electoral margin of two to one. In the elections of 1994, part of the Republican platform was to pass legislation setting term limits in Congress. After winning the majority, they brought the constitutional amendment to the House floor. The amendment limited members of the Senate to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms. However, constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority and the votes to impose term limits on Congress fell short of that number.

In May 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995). The ruling says that states cannot impose term limits on their federal Representatives or Senators. The U.S. Term Limits was the largest private organization pushing for Congressional term limits. Earlier that year, the Congress had given the Court assurance that the Justices would be acting only against state statutes, not overturning an act of Congress.The hopes of some that Congress would self-impose term limits had abruptly come to an end.

With the Republicans holding 230 seats in the House, three versions of the amendment got well under 200 votes, while the 12 year term-limits managed a bare majority in the House of 227-204, well short of the requisite two-thirds majority (290 votes) required to pass a constitutional amendment. Defeated in Congress and overridden by the Supreme Court, this populist uprising was brought to a halt for the purpose of reforming the federal government. The term limits intended simultaneously to reform legislatures remain in fifteen states.

In 2007, Professor Larry J. Sabato revived the debate over term limits by arguing in A More Perfect Constitution that the success and popularity of term limits at the state level suggests that they should be adopted at the federal level as well. He specifically put forth the idea of congressional term limits and suggested a national constitutional convention be used to accomplish the amendment, since the Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: