A government by representatives elected by the people at short periods was our object and our maxim …, "where annual election ends, tyranny begins” - Thomas Jefferson to S. Adams, 1800.
Congressional term limits have been an ongoing conversation among Americans since the framers of our Constitution began their work. There have been several term limits bills placed before our federal legislators, but none have resulted in a constitutional amendment to halt the rising number of career politicians who sit in Congress. This is not a “partisan” issue. This is an American problem, and it is up to WE, THE PEOPLE, to act.
What is interesting to me is that, when surveyed, over 80% of Americans are in favor of congressional term limits. What is also interesting is how many times incumbents who have been in office for upward of 30 years are voted back into office. Why is that? Here are some possible reasons:
• Many Americans believe that Congress will never vote for term limits on itself. However, in 1995, the House passed a constitutional amendment limiting themselves and senator’s terms as well. It didn’t pass, because any constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds supermajority vote.
• Some folks, (especially incumbents and special interest groups) will say that an election is a natural term limit. Unfortunately, when it comes to campaigning, the incumbent has an edge on the challenger, in that there is plenty of financing for his campaign from special interest groups. The challenger is faced with paying their own campaign costs, sometimes through donations or fundraising at a grass-roots level.
• We need experienced legislators in Washington. While this is true, and has been long-held standard by many Americans, it is also true that new ideas breathe life into a stale organization.
I am a proponent of congressional term limits, because I see our Congress forgetting who they REALLY work for: Us, the American people.
With the election coming up in November of this year, please remember that this is not just a presidential election. There are many congressional seats being considered, as well. Do your homework. Check to see how long these people have been in office. Are you happy with their representation? Email your senators and representatives in Washington DC. If we don’t speak up, who will?