Republican Senator Ted Cruz is championing an effort which would fundamentally change the current nature of Congress by limiting the number of terms that members can serve, in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
There is no current limit for the number of terms a lawmaker can serve. Should he or she continue to be elected by the people, a member can serve indefinitely. Some people argue that the current setup without term limits creates a professional politician mentality—someone who no longer represents the will of the people but serves their own interests.
In order to make such a change, the U.S. Constitution would have to be amended and the Texas lawmaker introduced a resolution to do just that.
The proposal, introduced by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Congressman Francis Rooney, would limit senators to two 6-year terms and representatives to three 2-year terms; this totals 18 years.
“The founders never envisioned a professional political class,” Rooney said during a Fox News appearance, according to the Washington Examiner.
“This is a much better way than having these entrenched politicians who are too aligned with special interests over a period of years. I would say 18 years is plenty of time to serve your country in,” the member of Congress continued.
Rooney added, via the DC Chronicle: “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.”
Cruz explained the term limit amendment during a new interview with the Daily Wire:
DW: Why did you propose the amendment?
CRUZ: Americans across the country understand that Washington is broken. There are few structural reforms that would have a more profound impact in ending the corruption in Washington than mandating term limits, and ending career politicians in Washington. I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment that would limit members of the House to three terms and limit members of the Senate to two terms. Overwhelming bipartisan majorities of Americans support this common sense reform, and I very much hope that Congress will listen and enact the will of the people.
DW: There is a small percentage of individuals who stand against the idea of term limits. They believe that voting is a means of term limiting. What would you say to that?
CRUZ: I understand that argument. That is a very small percentage of American voters. According to the latest national poll, 82% of Americans support term limits, and 9% oppose. So, you’re talking about fewer than 10% of American voters. I supported term limits before I was elected to the Senate, but I have to say, having spent six years here, having seen firsthand what happens in the United States Congress, I now support term limits a thousand times more, and the reason is simple. The dominant instinct in Congress is risk aversion.
Whenever a major challenge facing this country comes up and we are at our Senate lunches, inevitably, to consider a major solution to a difficult problem entails risk. Doing something big and bold entails political risk, and the instinct that we see reflected over and over again is, [if] the overarching desire is to get re-elected, the answer to almost any big and bold solution is, “No, we can’t do that because that would be risky, and we might lose.”
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Term limits would enable elected representatives to address and tackle the big, meaningful challenges facing this country, and without the constant dependence on special interests and lobbyists funding perpetual re-election campaigns.
DW: Is there anything you would like to say that hasn’t been covered by the media?
CRUZ: The 22nd amendment was adopted by the American people to put term limits on the president, and it was adopted following World War II, following FDR serving four consecutive terms. The American people made a judgment that two terms was enough for a president. I think that was a good decision; I think that has proven beneficial for America – even though, if we hadn’t had the 22nd amendment, Republicans might well have wanted Ronald Reagan to serve a third term, and Democrats might well have wanted Bill Clinton or Barack Obama to serve a third term. But the process of term limits for the president has, I think, proven a resounding success for the country in terms of bringing in new and fresh leadership. The same principles should apply to the United States Congress.
To read a transcript from the full interview, click here.
For the text of the proposed amendment, click here.