We all know about term limits. The problem seems to be that not all elected officials have a term limit. Most know that the president of the United States has a two term limit. Most States also impose term limits on their governors as well. However, it is the legislative branch of the federal government that fails to impose term limits. There was an attempt by congress in the 1990's that never came to be and with today's environment it is unlikely they would take up the issue anytime soon.
The incentive is not there. Human nature would suggest that it is illogical to vote for a policy that would limit one's own ability to continue in lucrative position with generous benefits. A large portion of the population does not follow the details of a politicians time in office. This provides an advantage to the incumbent, simply due to name recognition. Let's take a look at some notable names that you may be familiar with and their time in office as of the 2020 elections.
Dianne Feinstein (D- CA) - 27 years
Patty Murray (D- WA)- 27 years
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)- 45 years
Mitch McConnell (R- KY)- 35 years
Chuck Grassley (R- IA)- 39 years
James Clyburn (D- SC)- 27 years
Marcy Kaptur (D- OH)- 37 years
Nancy Pelosi (D- CA)- 33 years
Kevin Brady (R- TX)- 23 years
Hal Rogers (R- KY)- 39 years
Fred Upton (R- MI)- 33 years
The longest serving member was John Dingell (D- MI), serving 59 years only to be replaced after his retirement by his wife Debbie Dingell (D- MI). Do you think name recognition played a role? The examples listed above illustrate how some maintain "safe seats" for a number of reasons.*Ken-Reference #of election cycle terms and what have they actually done! * For what ever reason, they have name recognition with the people they are supposed to represent. With such security it becomes easier to be drawn into the Washington machine.
*Ken- Our founders had another view....*Article V provides the mechanism to pass constitutional amendments without going through congress. What you must remember is that this country is a Republic. A collection of sovereign states that agreed to collaborate toward a common good. The states can get together in a convention propose the an amendment with a 2/3 support of states and have it ratified with 3/4 support of the state. This provision was a clever way the founders put a check on congress should they ever ignore the will of the people.
*Ken - a compromise would be.....***A reasonable term would be 4 consecutive terms for the House and two for the Senate. This would be 8 and 12 years respectively, which seems reasonable since the President is limited to 8. There a many reasons why term limits are beneficial. The largest is to limit the incentive to be influenced by outside sources. It is easier to act on principle if there is not offers of money and favor to remain in office.
If you would like to learn more about the possibility of term limits, we recommend the site below as a starting point in your search.
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