T Nation

Term Limits for Congress


With all of the douchebaggery going on up on the Hill, it's got me thinking. Presidents have term limits, so why shouldn't congress?

It seems like MOST difficult (but necessary) decisions/legislation is kicked down the road, compromised on to where it makes no one happy, stuck in a sub committee, filibustered or delayed/derailed by any of a number of ways that would prevent a congressman from "committing political suicide".

With ONE term, "political suicide" is guaranteed and you take the fear of that off the table... I'll bet a LOT more shit would get done...

The flip side is that there are some exceptional politicians out there, but we see how well THAT is working. Fuck them. They need to be reminded that they work for US, not special interest groups. For example: MOST of the republican party is sucking Grover Norquist's cock for crying out loud! He's a LOBBYIST! We didn't vote for him, yet he has republicans by the balls cuz they signed his "pledge". He has effectively taken away the republican party's ability to compromise, which is what fucking politics is ABOUT.

So fuck 'em. I say we make "political suicide" MANDATORY to take the teeth out of the special interest groups who have congress by the balls.



One of the worst things that ever happened to the US was when politician became a career path.


Since the prez can just ignore congress anyway, why not just get rid of it all together?


I agree term limits are a good idea, but what would happen is institutional power would shift to the entrenched bureaucracy.

Accordingly, there should also be term limits on how long people can work for the civil government, as well -- some sort of "up or out" approach as already used in the military, but even more aggressive. This would help with the petty fiefdoms and corruption they have.


The people who make the laws will not make a law limiting themselves, only others.

They will only vote for raises for themselves.


Jewbacca makes a good point, and with term limits, I'd ilke to see some civil service reform, too.

But re: term limits, I am on board.

-Three terms in the Senate in plenty: 18 years. You have to be 30 to be a Senator. If you work till you're 65, you'd be eligible to be a Senator roughly half of your working career. That'd be fine.

-Fifteen terms in the House? Same as above? I'd be ok with that. The House is subject to more elections, so that is helpful (if we can do something about redistricting).


What about this.......

If a balanced budget is not passed for each fiscal year, the congressmen sitting at that time are not eligible for re-election.

Would that work?


That'd be an interesting incentive plan, and might actually be enforceable (unlike a number of other aspects to balanced budget legislation).


The only way we will ever get compromise is if their job is truly at stake.


It will never happen because they all are crooked fucks who enjoy being career politicians. They won't vote themselves term limits anymore than they won't vote themselves raises.



This is why I wonder why JFK and MLK were assaninated but not scum like the failures in congress. It's funny, if I don't make my numbers I will surely get fired like many of my co-workers. Congress fails repeatedly and gets raises. The weirdest part is if I say we need to do something or make a change people think you are a nut and anti government. Well, maybe I am


I'd like to hear more of your guys thoughts on this?

We do have term limits in Colorado for State and I believe municipal level gov (as in mayor, council members and state house, state sentate and govenor).

I think some of our federal elects also follow these voluntarily (but I could be wrong on this). But term limits for federally elected should be a definate. They already get a shitload of other perks for the rest of their life.


I'll pipe in more later in the day when I have time, but this is my mantra regarding term limits: if they were good enough for George Washington (and they were), they're good enough for everyone else.


Term limits will never happen because no member of Congress, let alone a majority of them, will ever agree to limit the amount of time the have in office and the opportunities to make ass-loads of money.



I just happened to run into this quote, and it reminded me of this thread -

?Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his
constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of
the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate
in their burdens.?
? George Mason, speech, Virginia Ratifying Convention,
June 17, 1788




One of my friends sent me this yesterday:

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the
best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more
than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
for re-election.

     The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
     took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why? Simple!
     The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail,
     cell phones, etc.

     Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
     or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

     Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to
     a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
     each of those to do likewise.

     In three days, most people in The United States of America will
     have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed

     _*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_

     1. No  Tenure / No Pension.

     A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
     pay when they're out of office.

     2.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social

     All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
     Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
     the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
     American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

     3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan,  just as all
    Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
     Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and
     participates in the same health care system as the American people.

     6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
     American people.

     7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
     effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this
     contract with Congressmen/women.

     Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
     Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
     envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
     term(s), then go home and back to work.

     If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will
     only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive
     the message.  Don't you think it's time?



That is just ridiculous.

That would make THEM belong to YOU.

Get real, its no fun passing laws if they actually apply to yourself.

Also, where is the mandatory drug testing?


The reason we do not have term limits is because it is the duty of the state or district to decide who they want their representatives to be. It has nothing to do with the republic as a whole, and therefore is not a federal issue. Originally, it was entirely up to the states to decide how they would elect their senator, until the 17th amendment was passed and a plurality vote was required.

I don't need a California representative telling me I can't vote for the representative of my own little district in Kansas for multiple terms. If California wants Pelosi representing them over and over, that is their prerogative. If as a state they decide they don't want their congressmen to be elected more than twice then again that should be their decision and theirs only.

I would much rather see the 17th amendment repealed and a 28th amendment added to give states sole discretion on how to elect their congressional representatives.

I really see term limits as a bandaid for a much larger problems, and instead of returning control to the states it actually gives the federal government more power. Term limits won't do any good anyways. There will never be a shortage of power hungry politicians ready to abuse their power and ignore the groundwork or a constitutional republic.


It is undemocratic and it doesn't deal with the real problem. The real problem is the public are too disengaged with what is going on in their government and don't enough about what they are up to, to hold them accountable at the ballot box. The end result will not be an improvement.

What it will do is entrench the problems even further. Because if we do get someone who is good and who can make real change he won't be there long enough to upset the apple cart. We will be even more disengaged because we will constantly be getting new people who we don't know their history. There is a saying, better the devil you know than the devil you don't know. We won't know anybody except the ones who are about to go.

Think about this. When they reach their limit and are no longer able to seek re-election what motivation do they have to do what the voters want? The most dangerous person is someone who has nothing to lose.

Also there is the issue that there are some projects that take years to move from initiation to completion. ie some crucial weapons systems like stealth have taken over 20 years to complete. Without some people who were there at the beginning of the project and understand it from the beginning you are gong to have people who have less understanding of project making key decisions on whether or not to continue. Without any experts on the subject good projects could be cancelled and bad ones could be continued.

Although there are some problems with career politicians, to replace them with a system of amateurs who are constantly being set back to the beginning of the learning curve could give us worse results than we already have.

So it's a bad idea that is a poor way to excuse voters from doing their homework, knowing what their representatives are up to and holding them accountable at the ballot box. It is saying we need a lottery system to pick our government because the people are too stupid to choose wisely.