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senate Bill S. Joint Res. 51

Should Members of Congress be Limited to Serving 18 Consecutive Years in Office?

Argument in favor

A regular rotation of elected representatives is vital for the long-term health of a functioning republic. Setting the limit at 18 consecutive years of serving in Congress strikes an appropriate balance between encouraging turnover in the ranks of Congress and allowing effective politicians to serve.

Mike's Opinion
···
01/01/2018
I would go for less than 18, but this is progress. A Representatives ideals and opinions will last through generations if they are worthy. Good leadership inspires future generations to follow in their footsteps. Obsolete ideals will fade out if not needed. Let's makes strong ideals more powerful than any one person.
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Donna's Opinion
···
01/01/2018
The American voters supposedly have the ability to self-impose term limits on their representatives with each mid-term and general election as stated in the Constitution. With gerrymandered districts and the takeover of our elections by big-money donors and special interest groups and now, thanks to Citizens United, political action groups, this system is not working and needs to be fixed. Many members of Congress run unopposed in their districts or states and are guaranteed jobs for life. The longest serving member of the House of Representatives was first elected in 1973, the year I graduated from high school. The longest serving Senator was first elected in 1975, just two years later. My life, expectations and perspectives have all changed drastically since 1973, as have those of most people in the country. Representatives serving over 40 years cannot possibly reflect the needs of their constituents as evidenced by the lack of respect and support we receive from the 115th Congress. The focus has moved from serving the public to raising money for their next reelection campaign or using their position to implement their own agenda (read Paul Ryan and tax and entitlement reform). That is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. It is past time for this to change. Term limits need to be imposed to insure the American people get the government they deserve, not the government bought and paid for by big money donors. The people running for Congress should do so to serve the needs of the country, not the wishes of their party. Eighteen years is still too long. The limit should be 12. As the demographics of states and localities change, so should the faces of the servants representing them.
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Jim2423's Opinion
···
01/01/2018
I really think that is to long. Should be a maximum of two terms just like the President. Hopefully this would end career politicians. They also should be subject to all the same laws their constituents have to follow.
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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.

Daniel's Opinion
···
01/01/2018
We have term limits. They are called elections. If your representative stinks vote them out. Mandating turnover solves nothing. Only creates the illusion of addressing the problem. If you want more responsive public servants actively involved in advocating for their constituencies, start with campaign finance reform.
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Frank's Opinion
···
01/01/2018
I oppose term limits for one simple reason: they deny Voters the choice of representation. We wouldn't think about telling a brain Surgeon, "You have saved too many Lives. You have to retire"; why would We do so for equally important public Servants? Even if this were not true, studies show countries with term limits go to war more often than those without because Legislators have no need to satisfy Voters during Their last terms. Likewise, Voter dissatisfaction is higher for People with "Lame Duck" Representatives for the same reason. Additionally, term limits make Lobbyists the only institutionalized memory in the capital, amplifying Their influence at the expense of Voters. Lastly, a mechanism already exists to remove "bad" Legislators and keep in good Ones: elections. Studies show ineffective and/or greedy Legislators are almost always removed within 3 elections or less, IF They ever get elected in the first place. Term limits are unnecessary and harmful to the idea of good governance and should be rejected.
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Virginia 's Opinion
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01/01/2018
We need term limits for our representatives, in both the Senate and House!
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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
    IntroducedDecember 21st, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 51?

This resolution would propose an amendment to the Constitution to prevent members of Congress from serving for more than 18 consecutive years. Representatives would be limited to nine consecutive terms in office, while senators would be limited to three consecutive terms in office. Term-limited members of Congress would be eligible to run again one year after their term ends. Any partial term in office to fill a vacancy would only count against the limit if it was for more than one year. The term limit wouldn’t apply retroactively, so current members of Congress would start with a fresh slate if 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

Constituents; potential candidates for congressional elections; state legislatures; incumbent members of Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Joint Res. 51

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

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.


In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has previously supported similar Congressional term limit proposals.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Ron and Patty Thomas / iStock)

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.

    I would go for less than 18, but this is progress. A Representatives ideals and opinions will last through generations if they are worthy. Good leadership inspires future generations to follow in their footsteps. Obsolete ideals will fade out if not needed. Let's makes strong ideals more powerful than any one person.
    Like (339)
    Follow
    Share
    We have term limits. They are called elections. If your representative stinks vote them out. Mandating turnover solves nothing. Only creates the illusion of addressing the problem. If you want more responsive public servants actively involved in advocating for their constituencies, start with campaign finance reform.
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    Two terms for everyone, that’s it.
    Like (148)
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    Share
    The American voters supposedly have the ability to self-impose term limits on their representatives with each mid-term and general election as stated in the Constitution. With gerrymandered districts and the takeover of our elections by big-money donors and special interest groups and now, thanks to Citizens United, political action groups, this system is not working and needs to be fixed. Many members of Congress run unopposed in their districts or states and are guaranteed jobs for life. The longest serving member of the House of Representatives was first elected in 1973, the year I graduated from high school. The longest serving Senator was first elected in 1975, just two years later. My life, expectations and perspectives have all changed drastically since 1973, as have those of most people in the country. Representatives serving over 40 years cannot possibly reflect the needs of their constituents as evidenced by the lack of respect and support we receive from the 115th Congress. The focus has moved from serving the public to raising money for their next reelection campaign or using their position to implement their own agenda (read Paul Ryan and tax and entitlement reform). That is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. It is past time for this to change. Term limits need to be imposed to insure the American people get the government they deserve, not the government bought and paid for by big money donors. The people running for Congress should do so to serve the needs of the country, not the wishes of their party. Eighteen years is still too long. The limit should be 12. As the demographics of states and localities change, so should the faces of the servants representing them.
    Like (115)
    Follow
    Share
    I really think that is to long. Should be a maximum of two terms just like the President. Hopefully this would end career politicians. They also should be subject to all the same laws their constituents have to follow.
    Like (103)
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    It is a step in the right direction, but 18 years is too long. It should be a maximum of 2 terms, and if the member of congress does any lobbying after leaving office, he/she should not be allowed to run for any seat in congress thereafter. There are plenty of capable people in this country to ably serve in congress at any given time. If they serve for a limited time, they are much more likely to serve for the right reasons. Career politicians are more a liability than an asset.
    Like (58)
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    Yes! Even fewer, if you ask me. Should be a privilege and civic duty, not a career. As the framers imagined.
    Like (42)
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    I would like 2 terms for Senate and 6 terms for the House. But, Yes, I would support 18 years if there was some age limit…like 65 or 70 years old. Nobody wants an old politician in Depends.
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    I think less may be better, but this is an appropriate move. Career politicians seem to make a career out of merely making incremental change. This would be a good move.
    Like (26)
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    Less. And they should be forbidden from ever going into lobbying. And they should be limited to raising campaign funds from public donations. No corporations or special interest groups. It seems like a bill like this could be a good vehicle for a whole host of tacked on provisions -- kind of like what they did with the tax scam, er, I mean, bill.
    Like (22)
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    For too long, career politicians have focused more on advancing their own careers than helping the people they were elected to serve. The Washington bubble and an unending cycle of gridlock stand in the way of real results at a time when our country is facing both a national debt crisis and a global security crisis. It is finally time that we impose term limits on members of Congress. Politicians should go to Washington, fight for the priorities that truly represent the interests of folks back home, and then return home to live under the laws they’ve passed. It’s just that simple. Our Founding Fathers never imagined the rise of the career politician. Elected office was never meant to be a career, nor was it meant to be a vessel for the centralization and maintenance of federal power. Term limits will help break this vicious cycle of gridlock that is stopping Congress from getting things done. It’s time to finally make sure Washington is more concerned about the next generation than the next election.
    Like (20)
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    I oppose term limits for one simple reason: they deny Voters the choice of representation. We wouldn't think about telling a brain Surgeon, "You have saved too many Lives. You have to retire"; why would We do so for equally important public Servants? Even if this were not true, studies show countries with term limits go to war more often than those without because Legislators have no need to satisfy Voters during Their last terms. Likewise, Voter dissatisfaction is higher for People with "Lame Duck" Representatives for the same reason. Additionally, term limits make Lobbyists the only institutionalized memory in the capital, amplifying Their influence at the expense of Voters. Lastly, a mechanism already exists to remove "bad" Legislators and keep in good Ones: elections. Studies show ineffective and/or greedy Legislators are almost always removed within 3 elections or less, IF They ever get elected in the first place. Term limits are unnecessary and harmful to the idea of good governance and should be rejected.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    I would say yes to begin a rotation of our legislatures but I am also under the impression you could find way too many loopholes in this legislation. I agree with Ticktock, where three terms, whether consecutive or not, should be the norm. This legislation is a start but I could see anyone with a law degree serving 18 years, stepping down, and then going for re-election and being re-elected for the following 18 years. But in all honesty, people are too stuck in their partisan ways to change anything so this bill would die in state legislatures to become an Amendment of the Constitution.
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    They should actually be limited, like the president to 2 terms. Pay into a 401K , pay into social security, and generally be the kind of elected officials Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin designed this country to support. No more professional millionaire congressmen
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    It’s obvious many who have stayed in for so long are beholden to special interests and forget the people who elect them. Term limits are a necessity.
    Like (12)
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    Two terms, period.
    Like (11)
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    We need term limits for our representatives, in both the Senate and House!
    Like (11)
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    It should be limited to 12 years, but this is a start.
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    The longer they stay, the worse and more corrupt they become. Yes for term limits. YES. YES. YES
    Like (10)
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    All politicians should be limited, this is a service they are performing for this country, there should never be career politicians.
    Like (9)
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