Time to Restrict Congress’ Time

by Alexander Roux

Widener University Political Science Major

 For decades the issue of instituting term limits on Congressmen has been a hot topic for debate.  The issue comes up almost every new Congress but it never receives any real attention nor is it taken seriously.  The last major attempt for instituting term limits on our Senators and Representatives was in 1994 when Republicans took control of Congress and promised term limit legislation.  Legislation was introduced limiting Senators to two 6 year terms and House members to two 6 years terms as well.  The bill received support from both parties. However, there were not enough votes to secure the two thirds majority that is required for Constitutional Amendments.  The bill was defeated and since then no major attempt has been made to limit the numbers of years our Congressmen can serve.

I believe that if we found it necessary to restrict the number of terms for the President, then Congress and the Supreme Court should have the same restrictions.  Congress has had members of both houses serve 30 years in Washington.  The President has two shots to move the country in the right direction and effectively lead the nation. I believe that our Senators should enjoy two 6 years terms allowing them to work with 3 administrations and our House members should enjoy four 3 year terms, again allowing them to work with three administrations.  If they can’t effectively legislate in 12 years in Washington then they shouldn’t be allowed to keep their jobs.

Term limits might also help keep Washington lobbyists at bay considering they won’t have entire careers to corrupt our politicians.  As for our Congressmen a term limit might actually inspire them to work as hard as they can knowing that they can only be there for a max of 12 years and that eventually getting re-elected won’t matter. This will mean that what they’re doing for the people will be their own priority. I think that term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court are long overdue and that if we want to make our legislative body effective again term limits could certainly help make that a reality again.


One thought on “Time to Restrict Congress’ Time

  1. I don’t understand your logic here. You saythat anyone that can’t effectively govern in 12 yrs. they shouldn’t be able to govern. I agree with that, my problem with your logic is that even if they can govern, they still can’t serve more than 12 yrs.

    We have term limits built into the system. You can vote out a Congressman or Senator every 2 or 6 yrs. Figure out how to make the election system work better if you want to make a fix.

    Term limits in states have shown that – term limited reps are more likely to be part of the recolving door, increases the power (and importance) of lobbyists (as the de facto institutional memory) and increases partisianship and deadlock.

    Your article has not even discussed any of the states that have tried this only to see it not work, but also not able to fix it again.

    Term limits are not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

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