Senator DeMint of South Carolina will soon be introducing a constitutional amendment that will limit members of Congress to three terms (six years) in the House of Representatives and two terms ( 12 years) in in the United States Senate. After serving ten years in the Senate, Senator DeMint said he has come to believe that Washington D.C. "has the power to corrupt even those with the most honorable intentions" He further related that, career politicians ended up, "beholden to special
interests, lobbyists, and big government policies."
The Senator's rational for term limits appears to be directed at the need for politicians to start campaigning for the next election shortly after they are elected in the House and following four years in the Senate. By doing so, career politicians spend much of their time campaigning rather than legislating. DeMint believes that by imposing term limits congress will be filled with an ever changing skill set of new ideas and fresh perspectives in congress. Term limits he says, "will keep politicians in-tune with their constituents and less focused on pleasing those who promise to help get them re-elected."
According to US Term Limits (USTL) Term limits have been placed on 15 state legislatures, eight of the ten largest cities in America adopted term limits for their city councils and/or mayor, and 36 states place term limits on their constitutional officers. USTL states, “We are the voice of the American citizen. We want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, not a tyrannical ruling class who care more about deals to benefit themselves, than their constituents.”
Term Limits are already in place for the chief executive of the United States. The President is limited to two terms by the twenty-second amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1947. The Governors of thirty-six states also have various term limits in place. The rational for limiting the chief executive to two terms was to prevent a possible dictatorship. Back in 1776, Thomas Jefferson stated at the Continental Congress that term limits were necessary, "to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the Continental Congress.”
Those against a term limit amendment argue that term limits are already in place, they are called elections. They relate that a term limit amendment limits a voters first amendment rights of free speech by limiting the ability to elect anyone they choose. But sitting Senators out-raise challengers by eight to one. This contrast in finances probably accounts for the high re-election rate (nearly ninety-two percent) for incumbents. Many of these contributions are from special interest groups. Others say that rather than imposing congressional term limits there should be legislation that requires a legislator to recuse themselves from voting on any legislation that deals with a major contributor. By doing so, special interest contributions would evaporate.
Voters appear to agree with DeMint as a poll related that eighty-two percent want congressional term limits. DeMint said, "people deserve congressmen who fight to give them a voice rather than fight for their personal power and success. If the people want new policies and real reform, it’s not enough to change the congressmen -- we must change Congress itself", He