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house Bill H. Joint Res. 26

Setting Term Limits on Members of Congress by Amending the Constitution

Argument in favor

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

William's Opinion
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04/01/2015
Politics should not be a career but a calling. Power corrupts and long term politicians gain to much power over time, they can not be trusted in our form of government.
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Michael's Opinion
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04/03/2015
Two terms should be the limit. Also, no lifetime payment of salary & benefits after their two term limit.
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Jimmy's Opinion
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04/02/2015
There are too many politicians making a career out of this position by election. It was not meant to be that.
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Argument opposed

Not only would term limits make Congress less effective — but, hey, 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.

Seth's Opinion
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04/08/2015
Before Citizens United I'd say yes. But what we really need is redistricting reform to remove gerrymandering and campaign finance reform to make all elections publicly funded.
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Libertarian4Life's Opinion
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04/02/2015
I understand the intent of term limits, but I am inherently opposed to NOT being able to vote for a representative if he/she is in line with my perspectives.
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MateoLowe's Opinion
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04/01/2015
Theres no reason to limit the terms of members of Congress at this point. If new representatives are being voting in and only there for a limited number of terms they have no incentives to work hard and get voted in again. If they are doing something right and continue to have the support of their constituency then they should be able to remain in Congress.
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What is House Bill H. Joint Res. 26?

This proposed amendment to the Constitution would limit the number of years that members of Congress could serve in the House of Representatives or the Senate.


It would cap the number of years that a Representative could serve at 18 years — which comes to nine terms in the House. The number of years that a Senator could serve would also be at capped at 18 years — or three Senate terms.


Years spent as a Representative or Senator completing the term of an open seat in Congress would not count against the 18 year limit. Only congressional service after this amendment’s ratification would count against the 18 year limit.


This constitutional amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states within seven years of the amendment being submitted for ratification.

Impact

U.S. taxpayers, potential candidates for congressional elections, incumbent members of Congress, and the U.S. political sphere.

Cost of House Bill H. Joint Res. 26

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: In addition to this constitutional amendment proposed by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), four other Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced amendments setting congressional term limits, and one version has a companion bill in the Senate. All four of these proposals limit Senators to two terms, but differ on the number of terms a Representative can serve.


Of Note: The debate over term limits is one of the oldest points of contention in U.S. political history — in fact it is a debate that pre-dates the U.S. Constitution. In the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, members of the state assembly were limited to serving "four years in seven." This marked the first known time since the Council of 500 in ancient Athens, and the cursus honorum (“course of offices”) in the Roman Republic that citizens limited the terms of their public officials.

The U.S. Constitution did not set term limits for either Congress or the President, though George Washington began the trend of an informal two-term limit for presidents. That became official when Congress passed the 22nd Amendment after Franklin Roosevelt’s time in office.

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 is found in the Constitution in the case U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton. The 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: Flickr user FICG.mx

Official Title

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to limit the number of years Representatives and Senators may serve.

joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 26th, 2015
    Politics should not be a career but a calling. Power corrupts and long term politicians gain to much power over time, they can not be trusted in our form of government.
    Like (97)
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    Before Citizens United I'd say yes. But what we really need is redistricting reform to remove gerrymandering and campaign finance reform to make all elections publicly funded.
    Like (61)
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    Share
    Two terms should be the limit. Also, no lifetime payment of salary & benefits after their two term limit.
    Like (62)
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    There are too many politicians making a career out of this position by election. It was not meant to be that.
    Like (36)
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    It long over due..
    Like (22)
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    Any institution that has too much old blood risks stagnation.
    Like (20)
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    I understand the intent of term limits, but I am inherently opposed to NOT being able to vote for a representative if he/she is in line with my perspectives.
    Like (19)
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    Yes. Term limits would restore a portion of the ideal of polticians as temporary public servants instead of political careers.
    Like (19)
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    Theres no reason to limit the terms of members of Congress at this point. If new representatives are being voting in and only there for a limited number of terms they have no incentives to work hard and get voted in again. If they are doing something right and continue to have the support of their constituency then they should be able to remain in Congress.
    Like (18)
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    I'm not declaring war on Congress. I'm declaring war on atrophy. But these days, who can tell the difference?
    Like (16)
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    If term limits are passed, the only people who have experience in Congress will be the lobbyists.
    Like (10)
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    Term limits would affect good and effective politicians more than it would affect bad and ineffective politicians. Let the people speak with their votes.
    Like (8)
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    Long term politicians have the seniority to get things done. The last thing we need is a more stagnant congress.
    Like (7)
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    One term, maximum, for everyone.
    Like (5)
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    We have to be careful of not gutting institutional knowledge, but we have mad elected office a full time job. I think it would be much easier to work on the rules of part time employment and ethics than changing the constitution.
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    When our country was formed we chose two offices. The house representative was meant to be an expert in all of their state's various unique issues and concerns. The senator was meant to be an office made of wise, learned and experienced people who could be our experts in the vast sea of laws and policy that make our country so complex and beautiful. This cannot be a short term position. It is simply impossible to expect our congress to be full of amateurs and constant new elections and be effective! Being a legislator IS a career, when did politician become a dirty word? How can people possibly think these policy and law makers do not "work." They are doing the greatest work, they should be the best of us. The idea that corruption is some kind of inevitability is baseless and destructive. If we impose term limits we will be handicapping our future.
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    Many measures take years to pass, and building relationships within congress is critical towards this. If a legislator isn't doing what you like, that's what elections are for, but imposing term limits will sever important ties being made about legislation we all care about.
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    Absolutely! 1 term each in Senate, House, and President. That's it, go get a job and make a living with the laws you passed! The President is the only one I'd give a pension. I don't want people governing to get re-elected. Campaign on what you're going to do, go there and DO IT, then get the hell out!
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    I believe that citizens should be more involved and know what their elected officials are doing, hold them accountable, and then do their job to either reelect them or vote them out. Campaign finance and gerrymandering is also an issue here, but if that's taken out of the equation, that's what I would say.
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    It's obvious that people in Congress and Senate offices for more than a few terms stop representing the people that elected them for some reason and are out to make themselves rich. They do not have any concern for anyone else unless there is some benefit for themselves (to make more money).
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