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Thread: Term limits on Congress

  1. #1

    Default Term limits on Congress

    I've been meaning to post this for a couple days now. I believe it came up in Huntsman speech after the New Hampshire results (and has come before in many different venues). I've been torn on it and kind of curious what others opinion are about putting term limits on how long someone can serve in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    I'll start with the negative side I see. Its mainly that I feel we SHOULD already have a good system in place. If your representative or senator is doing a bad job representing the people of your state, you can vote them out and thus "limit" their term. With the benefit that if they are actually doing a good job, you can continue to keep them in office so long as they are doing a good job. It seems like it should be a great system that works better then saying "Everyone out after x years!"

    The problem with that (and the other side) is it is never actually done like that. Hell we have the same system with some judges, and I doubt half the voters even look into the judge before making a blanket vote based on some reasoning outside of job performance. I'm not sure what the current rate is, but I know its absurdly high percentage of time the incumbent gets voted back, no matter how good or shitty they've been. In that case I could see term limits being good in a way to prevent voters from voting someone back who really shouldn't be there in the first place.

    Lets also add that gerrymandering has made it so getting rid of someone who is a drag either on the state or the nation is at times next to impossible to get rid of some people. Parties (at least are supposed to) bank on this, picking their leaders from people in districts that they should almost never lose. It is one of the few things I'm happy about with Arizona, we actually have an independent bipartisan committee that handles redistricting. It seems a lot better then having the politicians deciding the lines (and creating some weird ones just to get a solid district created). Of course that effects the House of Representatives, not the Senate.

    I'm sure there are more issues on both sides, but that is just how I feel about it, and not really sure either way. Like I said they sound good, but could get rid off some of the good people, and we should have a system to weed out the people we don't want up in D.C. already. What is your feelings/opinions on the matter?

  2. #2

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    I must say first and foremost that YES!! There should be term limits for them. I understand the good side of keeping people in that are doing good but let's face it are any of them really "good" I feel it is like picking the least of the evils when voting. This is supposed to be a civil service an honor so to speak of getting to serve your country.Not a lifelong career. When you have "Lifers" as I call them when some one new does come in the lifers band together and say look kid that's not how we do things up here and then "poof" the new comer with fresh ideas and and A clue as to what the people want done gets squashed and then the system never gets changed. But this is my opinion.

  3. #3

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    I concur, let's set term limits for those congresscritters so they can't run again after they're done with their terms. I think congress and senate are so out of touch with the mainstream of American society that they view themselves as demigods. I think it's high-time they had term limits for those in congress and the senate like they do with the presidency.

    WildThing121675

  4. #4

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    I think that you answered it in the op. They already have term limits. There is nothing stopping the American people from educating themselves on how long a congressperson has served, and voting them out if they don't like how long they've served.

    Congresspeople are limited by whether they are adequately representing their their constituents needs or not.

    I'm not trying to be cynical or sarcastic when I say this, but if we as a people need to have a law created to limit politicians terms to prevent us from voting for them again, that's pretty sad. We are/should be smarter, and more educated than that.

    I would also argue that if a congressperson is doing an unbelievable job (highly unlikely) representing their district why should they not be allowed to continue to serve their constituents and their country?

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. #5

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    I vehemently oppose term limits.

    Like Coyote_Howl and RangerR said, we have term limits already, through the power of the ballot box. I do not want someone telling me I can't vote for a representative that I feel is doing a good job just because of some stupid term limit.

    Also, term limits have the effect of completely handing the government over to the lobbyists. Any residual institutional memory from representatives is removed with term limits, leaving lobbyists as the only ones that really know how to work the system. Besides that, given that lobbyists and corporations are the ones that fund our elections, putting term limits on representatives (or whatever other elected officials) just means that all of our politicians will be bought, instead of most of them.

    The real fix to the system is to make all elections publicly funded, limit the amount of time that can be spent campaigning for an election, and shut the government down during that brief (no more than six months) election period, thus ending the lame duck sessions.

  6. #6

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    I would place "lack of term limits" in the "swamped by larger problems" category.

    The two main problems with Congress right now, as I see it, are that filibuster use is so out of control that the Senate cannot pass major laws, and that essentially unlimited amounts of money can influence politics via lobbying and super PAC activity, leading to policy that overwhelmingly favors moneyed interests. These two problems poison the legislative process in ways that are blatant and huge, to the point that if you even have to ask if another issue is a problem, you can rest assured that it's not a problem as big as these ones.

  7. #7

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    I think term limets might be needed, but I'd be willing to compromise for just a "so many terms/# of years before they have to return to their state" set up, so if they want they can go back BUT they can reconnect with their state on some big issues for longer periods of time. Recesses and all for going home are good, but in some cases it might be better if the representatives and senitors actually saw what the work they did in congres did for or to the people they were supposed to be representing.

  8. #8

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    My former local member of parliament (Canadian equivalent of a congressmen) was in office for fifteen years as a Liberal in a rather Conservative riding, and frankly he probably could have stayed longer had he not retired. Why? Because he was always in touch with the electorate, was willing to any constituent and was always really candid when he did (I remember him talking to me about the personal struggles that a vote on abortion made him go through, and his personal experience dealing with abortion). The problem with term limits is that it prevents a politician that those a genuinely good job from being able to serve his or her constituents for as long as they should. There is already such a thing as a term limit: its called the elections.

  9. #9
    Butterfly Mage

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    I think that members of the House, Senate, and Executive office should only have one (1) six-year term. After that, they should get real jobs. Also, they should not receive the "golden parachute" they currently enjoy (that being full salary and medical benefits forever). Finally, I think that each member of the House, Senate, and Presidency should have to face a full-scale criminal investigation at the end of their single term so as to ensure that the elected official actually obeyed the law and the Constitution while in office.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly Mage View Post
    I think that members of the House, Senate, and Executive office should only have one (1) six-year term. After that, they should get real jobs. Also, they should not receive the "golden parachute" they currently enjoy (that being full salary and medical benefits forever). Finally, I think that each member of the House, Senate, and Presidency should have to face a full-scale criminal investigation at the end of their single term so as to ensure that the elected official actually obeyed the law and the Constitution while in office.
    That is a bit extreme IMO

    1 Term really Limits them too much, If we set limits I think it should be like 2 or even 3 terms.

    I do agree about the Golden Parachute thing, I am firm beleiver that they should be subject to the regulations and laws they pass for the rest of us (like Healthcare)

    And getting full Salary for the rest of their lives is too much.

    A full scale investigation would take way too much time and too many resouces, especially after just 1 term for everyone to be practical

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