Amendment would limit every House member to 3 terms, every Senator to 2 terms
November 10, 2009 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced an amendment to the United States Constitution that would apply term limits to all members of Congress, limiting U.S. Representatives to three terms and U.S. Senators to two terms in office. The amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). As an amendment to the Constitution, it would require a two-thirds majority vote approval in the House and Senate and must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.I doubt it will pass, but hope springs eternal!
"Americans know real change in Washington will never happen until we end the era of permanent politicians," said Senator DeMint. "As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to buyoff special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork – in short, amassing their own power. I have come to realize that if we want to change the policies coming out of Congress, we must change the process itself. Over the last 20 years, Washington politicians have been reelected about 90% of the time because the system is heavily tilted in favor of incumbents. If we really want to put an end to business as usual, we’ve got to have new leaders coming to Washington instead of rearranging the deck chairs as the ship goes down.”
Senator Coburn added, “The best way to ensure we are truly a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, is to replace the career politicians in Washington with citizen legislators who care more about the next generation than their next election. The power of incumbency has created an almost insurmountable advantage for Washington politicians. Incumbency allows politicians to raise millions of dollars in campaign funds in exchange for earmarks. Incumbency gives Congress the power to raise money for itself – Congress just approved itself an increase of nearly $250 million from the U.S. Treasury that members will spend to promote themselves. Finally, with redistricting incumbents can choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives. Term limits is the best way to break this cycle.”
- PDF of Term Limits for All amendment
- Download Senator DeMint's podcast on Term Limits for All -
“Some say only long-serving, seasoned elites have the skills to lead the people, but that’s exactly what we have today and how do you think it’s working out for us?” said Senator DeMint. “It wasn’t the ‘people’ who gave us a $12 trillion debt, an IRS tax code seven times longer than the Bible, over 1,700 departments of the federal government, trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, $100 trillion long-term shortfall in Social Security and Medicare, the Wall Street and auto bailouts, and the pending health care takeover.
“This nation can no longer afford these entrenched men and women who enjoy lives of luxury wholly insulated from the consequences of their major policy failures.
“I want to be clear: demanding that reformers adopt self-imposed term limits is a recipe for self-defeat on this issue. We lost the battle for term limits after the 1994 Republican Contract with America because we forced our best advocates for reform to go home, while the big-spending career politicians waited them out. We must have term limits for all or term limits will never succeed. Only when we apply the same rules to all will we be able to enact vital bipartisan reforms.
“Term limits will increase legislative turnover, expand the field of candidates who run for office, and instill transparency and accountability in our public officials. By ratifying this amendment, we can end the tremendous advantage enjoyed by incumbents in Washington, break long-lasting ties to special interests and lobbyists, and transform Congress from the body of career politicians that it has become, to a chamber of true citizen legislators,” said Senator DeMint.