Texas Senator Ted Cruz Introduces Bill Setting Congressional Term Limits
It's an idea people have been talking about since America's founding - term limits for members of Congress. This week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and a Republican colleague in the House, Rep. Ralph Norman, have introduced bills aimed at making that idea a reality.
Cruz has proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit U.S. Senators to two six-year terms and members of the House of Representatives to three two-year terms. This isn't the first time Cruz has introduced legislation intended to set term limits.
Norman's bill would also limit Senators to two terms and Representatives to three terms.
Both Cruz and Fitzpatrick say there's no reason anyone should make a career out of being in an elected office, which is a sentiment I've heard often throughout my life, as I'm sure you have.
"Serving in the House or Senate should be a temporary privilege, not a career choice," Norman wrote in a news release Tuesday. "With the allure of Washington, it becomes easy over time to lose sight of your constituents back at home. That's why a constitutional amendment is needed to term limit those who serve."
Norman said he's open to debate about how many terms are reasonable, since it can take time to "get your feet wet", but that it's "just wrong that someone could make a long-term career out of elected office, especially on the federal level". He called the idea that we need long-serving politicians to keep things running "bunk".
Cruz is on the same page.
“The rise of political careerism in today’s Congress is a sharp departure from what the Founders intended for our federal governing bodies," he wrote Monday. "“Every year, Congress spends billions of dollars on giveaways for the well-connected: Washington insiders get taxpayer money and members of Congress get re-elected, all while the system fails the American people. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of Americans from every political stripe – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – overwhelmingly support congressional term limits."
Of course, there are those who make some interesting arguments against term limits. This article from the Brookings Institution presents a few of those arguments, and I have to say, they're not unreasonable. One that stands out to me is the argument that novice legislators might be more dependent on special interest groups and lobbyists to fill in information and policy gaps. That's obviously not something the American people would want to see, but would it necessarily be the case?
How's that old saying go? The more things change, the more they stay the same? We've been debating terms limits since the establishment of the United States, so it might be easy to casually dismiss these bills as yet another gesture that will go nowhere.
Then again, it seems like far more people are paying attention to what's going on in Washington these days, and it's easier than ever to be plugged into that and find information. Maybe the time for term limits is drawing near.
What do you think? Should there be term limits for elected officials? Vote below, then let us know what you think in the comments.