Thursday, October 22, 2009

DeMint to offer constitutional amendment on term limits

NetRightNation has the text of the podcast from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on his plan for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits in Congress.

"Fifteen years ago, Republicans -- who had been out of power in Congress for forty years – made term limits a centerpiece of their “Contract with America” agenda.

The term limits constitutional amendment ultimately failed, in part because so many new reform-minded congressmen imposed term limits on themselves. After six or eight years, these members voluntarily went home, leaving behind those Republicans and Democrats who fully intended to make a career inside the beltway.

The fact is, party doesn’t matter when it comes to reform. If you want to change the policies, you have to change the process.

That’s why in the next few weeks I will introduce a new constitutional amendment to limit members of the House of Representatives to three terms (which is six years), and members of the Senate to two terms (which is twelve years)."

Full story is here.

3 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Sen. DeMint's effort is laudable and long overdue to return as an issue. I applaud it, but think that it seems little more than an empty gesture. Congress is unlikely to allow a measure of national term limits to go to a vote of the people when the federal government is placing roadblocks in the way of any term limit effort on any level of elected service.

I still believe that the way to approach this situation is to find a way to do away with pension benefits (other than Social Security) for national legislators. If they were forced to go back to the private sector in order to insure their financial future, the issue would likely take care of itself.

Kadim said...

>The term limits constitutional amendment ultimately failed, in part because so many new reform-minded congressmen imposed term limits on themselves. After six or eight years, these members voluntarily went home

I don't see the evidence for that. They tried once in 2005, and couldn't get the 2/3rds vote. They never tried again.

As for Tim's idea, most congressmen are so wealthy already that changing pay/benefits would likely have little effect.

I'm not pleased by what I've seen of term limits here in Ohio. Most of our legislators don't seem to figure things out until their 3rd of 4th term.

Maggie Thurber said...

I'm not a fan of term limits, though I completely understand why people want to impose them.

Over the years, polls have shown that individuals want term limits for everyone but their own representative. They want other people to go, but not the one they have.

In Ohio, we just see the musical chairs...in fact, rumor has it that Sen. Theresa Fedor and Rep. Peter Ujvagi plan to 'switch' in the next election because they're term limited. On the GOP side, there's been Bob Latta and Randy Gardner, so this is a 'bi-partisan' problem.

I guess my main opposition is that term limits absolve the voter of the responsibility to know what their elected officials are doing and to hold them accountable. It's too easy to say 'they only have another term and then they're gone.'

Additionally, it absolves the other party from their responsibility to mount a serious and valid challenge...too many candidates would rather wait for an 'open' seat than try to challenge an incumbent.

I'd much rather see the laws which favor incumbancy revoked. I also think unlimited contributions but with complete reporting on the internet within 24 hours of receipt of donation would be much easier and more in keeping with our founders intents of free speech than the myriad of legal mandates which require teams of lawyers to figure out and keep track of.

There are certainly changes to the process and system that can be made ... but term limits often resonates with people - until they find themselves living with the consequences.

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