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senate Bill S. Joint Res. 1

Amending the Constitution to Impose Term Limits On Congress

Argument in favor

A regular rotation of elected representatives is vital for the long-term health of a functioning republic. Legislators that pass federal laws should be willing to live under those laws as a private citizen back home.

James's Opinion
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03/17/2019
This should be done but congress will never do it. They only care about themselves and getting re-elected.
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Lila's Opinion
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03/17/2019
Term limits — long overdue. However, we know WHY it never comes up, don’t we❓It’s a very cushy way to become a millionaire for one. It also guarantees Job Security because voters keep sending the bad ones back❗️
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Justin's Opinion
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03/17/2019
Too much power is given to those in office the longest. Same reason why our presidents are term limited. This nation broke away from dictators/royalty for many reasons.
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Argument opposed

Term limits make Congress less effective and if a member of Congress can get re-elected again and again, then they should be able to keep their seats. If people don't like it, then they should vote differently.

D's Opinion
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03/17/2019
Terrible idea. This would lead a perpetually green Congress to be even *more* dependent on lobbyists and external consultants for legislation. The House is voted in every two years; this is designed to make them responsive and representative. Term limits will not help the problems we have, but undoing gerrymandering (which makes representatives respond to the base and the party over their broad constituency) would.
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James 's Opinion
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03/17/2019
We already have term limits, it’s called elections.
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Alex's Opinion
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03/17/2019
We have similar term limits in Michigan State Senate and it does NOT go well. You end up with lobbyists being the only people who knows what’s what, and writing legislation for the representatives.
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joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 1?

This resolution would propose an amendment to the Constitution to impose term limits on Congress. Representatives would be limited to three terms — six years — and any partial term to fill a vacancy that lasts more than one year would count against the limit. Senators would be limited to two terms — twelve years — and any partial term to fill a vacancy that lasts more than three years would count against the limit. The term limits wouldn’t apply retroactively, so sitting members of Congress would start with a fresh slate after the amendment is enacted.

As a joint resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment, the president’s signature wouldn’t be required for this to be enacted. Rather, at least three-fourths of the states — currently 38 — must ratify the amendment for it to take effect.

Impact

U.S. taxpayers; potential candidates for congressional elections; state legislatures; incumbent members of Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 1

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reintroduced this constitutional amendment from the 115th Congress to limit Senators to two six-year terms and Representatives to three two-year terms:

"For too long, members of Congress have abused their power and ignored the will of the American people,” Sen. Cruz said. “Term limits on members of Congress offer a solution to the brokenness we see in Washington, D.C. It is long past time for Congress to hold itself accountable. I urge my colleagues to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) added that this proposal is overwhelmingly supported by the public:

"The American people support term limits by an overwhelming margin. I believe that as lawmakers, we should follow the example of our founding fathers, Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who refused to consider public service as a career. Our history is replete with examples of leaders who served their country for a time and returned to private life, or who went on to serve in a different way.”

When he proposed this in the 115th Congress, Sen. Cruz said:

"D.C. is broken. The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people. It is well put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions. The time is now for Congress, with the overwhelming support of the American people, to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification. With control of a decisive majority of the states, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, we have a responsibility to answer the voters' call-to-action. We must deliver."

The Brookings Institute's Casey Burgat opposes imposing congressional term limits, arguing that they'd: 1) take power away from voters; 2) severely decrease congressional capacity; 3) limit incentives for gaining policy expertise; 4) automatically kick out effective lawmakers; and 5) do little to minimize corruptive behavior or slow the revolving door.

This constitutional amendment has the support of seven cosponsors in the 116th Congress, all of whom are Republicans. In the previous session, it had the support of eight cosponsors, all of whom were Republicans.


Of Note: The debate over term limits is one of the oldest in U.S. politics — in fact, it even predates America’s Constitution. In the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, members of the state assembly were limited to serving “four years in seven.”

Term limits for members of Congress most recently became a significant issue in 1994 when 22 states had term limits for their congressional delegations. The U.S. Supreme Court then struck down state-imposed term limits that are stricter than what’s found in the Constitution in the case U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton. This issue resurfaced in 2012 when the Senate rejected a non-binding resolution suggesting that the Constitution should be amended to put in place term limits in a 24-75 vote.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Public Domain)

AKA

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve.

Official Title

A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve.

    This should be done but congress will never do it. They only care about themselves and getting re-elected.
    Like (85)
    Follow
    Share
    Terrible idea. This would lead a perpetually green Congress to be even *more* dependent on lobbyists and external consultants for legislation. The House is voted in every two years; this is designed to make them responsive and representative. Term limits will not help the problems we have, but undoing gerrymandering (which makes representatives respond to the base and the party over their broad constituency) would.
    Like (48)
    Follow
    Share
    Term limits — long overdue. However, we know WHY it never comes up, don’t we❓It’s a very cushy way to become a millionaire for one. It also guarantees Job Security because voters keep sending the bad ones back❗️
    Like (50)
    Follow
    Share
    Too much power is given to those in office the longest. Same reason why our presidents are term limited. This nation broke away from dictators/royalty for many reasons.
    Like (35)
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    Share
    I think most people would agree with this.
    Like (31)
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    We already have term limits, it’s called elections.
    Like (26)
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    TERM-LIMITS ARE SURELY THE BEST OPTION & THE WAY TO GO A regular rotation of elected representatives is vital for the long-term health of a functioning republic. Legislators that pass federal laws should be willing to live under those laws as a private citizen back home. SneakyPete..... 🤔👍🏻👍🏻🤔. 3-17-19.....
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    We have similar term limits in Michigan State Senate and it does NOT go well. You end up with lobbyists being the only people who knows what’s what, and writing legislation for the representatives.
    Like (23)
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    Not only impose term limits but remove the pension and prohibit lobbying by any former Congress member.
    Like (19)
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    We need more accountability, these limits should help that.
    Like (15)
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    Can we make it for everyone but Bernie Sanders and those who do not take corporate campaign donors? Or how about we just kick everyone out who accepts corporate campaign contributions?
    Like (14)
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    Too many career politicians is not good. We need people who want to serve and then go back to their regular lives. It is too easy to be corrupted when you are in Washington too long.
    Like (11)
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    Term limits were good enough for a President and is definitely needed to get fresh blood and thoughts into Congress. Neither Congress nor President were meant to be long term careers.
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    YES!!! This Is not meant to be a career and get rid of their life long retirement benefits too.
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    No one should be in the same seat for 20+ years. Term limits, just like President term and Governor term. Two 4 year terms and thank you for your service.
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    That’s the way we can clean up the swamp
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    For the first 150+ years of our nation’s existence no president believed it was beneficial for our country to have a president that served more than two terms. Once that tradition was broken by FDR wisdom prevailed and term limits became a reality for the POTUS. I believe that when our founding fathers established the framework of our government they could not have imagined a situation where men and women would come to power, stay in power and become as corrupted by power as many men and women are today. We’ve reached and passed a time when term limits for members of Congress are essential. Sadly, I also believe we’ve also reached a time when we do not have a majority of members of Congress who are concerned about our country enough to amend the constitution to include term limits for members of Congress.
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    The way that’s written NO... however, term limits for no longer than 20 years might be better. Hard problems cannot be answered with talking points and sound bites. Gerrymandering, as another responder pointed out is the real problem. Think things through before you just toss out your Hell No! Or Hell Yes! Responses.
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    Congress will never impose term limits on themselves, but we can bypass congress. Sign the petition at ConventionOfStates.com
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    Yes, then congress would function as the founders envisioned, with citizen lawmakers, not career politicians. We need fresh voices and fresh eyes. Also needed is campaign finance reform which would be included in HR 1 if it is passed. The House has already passed it but the Senate has not yet voted and will likely reject it. HR 1 does so much that is desperately needed: removed dark money from political contributions, requires impartial panels to establish congressional districts not partisan state legislatures, mandates same day voter registration, makes Election Day a national holiday, and more. If it is rejected it should be reintroduced every week until the electorate is moved to pressure their senators to pass it.
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