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Does Congress Need Term Limits? The President Has Them

Should Congressmen have term limits like the President?
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After the re-re-election of FDR, our nation’s leaders felt it was time to restrict the number of terms for the highest office in the land. Now, could it be time to limit Congress?

This last week, Republican Senator David Vitter from Louisiana introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would place the following limits on those serving in the House and Senate:

  • No member of Congress shall serve more than three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • No member of Congress shall serve more than two terms in the U.S. Senate.

While it hasn’t generated significant headlines inside the Beltway, term limits are starting to gain some steam after former senator and presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said after 24 years in office, he would have supported such an idea. Congress is also having to face poll after poll showing the House and Senate have lower approval ratings than Obama — and that’s saying a lot!

From a press release this week issued by the group U.S. Term Limits:

Phil Blumel, president of U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s largest term limits advocacy group, called on Congress to send the Constitutional Amendment to the states for them to decide saying, ‘The public clearly wants term limits, and it is the ultimate conflict of interest for federal elected officials to prevent the states from making the decision on whether their own terms should be limited.’

Senator Vitter is introducing the amendment on a tide of public dissatisfaction with Congress, and Blumel believes this public outcry may break the log jam that has prevented consideration.

Following the remarks from former Sen. Lieberman this week, a new Gallup Opinion Poll shows Americans would vote for Congressional term limits by a margin of 75 percent in favor, with only 21 percent opposed.

Those who oppose term limits argue it takes experienced politicians who know how to work the D.C. system to effectively get things done, but supporters say if every politician is subject to limits then seniority doesn’t really matter anymore.

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