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CuriousLoner's avatar

Why are there no term limits in the US congress?

Asked by CuriousLoner (1809points) December 5th, 2010

This is my source, but if it is invalid then please tell me. Thank you.

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11 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Probably has something to do with the way that Senators used to be appointed, not elected.

BoBo1946's avatar

Congress will never pass this (obvious reasons)... would have to be a Constitutional Convention by the states. Also, 1994 a judge ruled it was unconstitutional.

marinelife's avatar

In the 18th century, rotating congressmen were the norm. It was an idea ingrained in the grass roots.

But by the turn of the 20th century, incumbency was king.

“Reformers during the early 1990s used the initiative and referendum to put congressional term limits on the ballot in 24 states. Voters in eight of these states approved the congressional term limits by an average electoral margin of two to one.[22] In the elections of 1994, part of the Republican platform was to pass legislation setting term limits in Congress. After winning the majority, they brought a constitutional amendment to the House floor.

It limited members of the Senate to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms. Because the Republicans held 230 seats in the House, they were able to get a simple majority. However, constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority, or 290 votes, and the votes to restrict term limits in Congress fell short of that number.

In 2007, Professor Larry J. Sabato revived the debate over term limits by arguing in A More Perfect Constitution that the success and popularity of term limits at the state level suggests that they should be adopted at the federal level as well. He specifically put forth the idea of congressional term limits and suggested a national constitutional convention be used to accomplish the amendment, since the Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power.”


Michael's avatar

There are term limits. They’re called elections.

CuriousLoner's avatar

I mean why are the term limits unlimited?

filmfann's avatar

Term limits are a fairly new thing. Everyone seems to like to limit other congressional districts officials, but not theirs.
I am with @Michael , they are called elections. I don’t understand why we feel the need to get rid of those who understand how the system works.

hungerforpizza's avatar

Because it ain’t in here.

But the president has term limits, because of the twenty-second amendment.

Judi's avatar

Because it takes about an entire term to figure out what you’re doing. Law making is an intricate profession. I prefer my representatives to know what they’re doing and beeffective.
I have seen term limits in California undo hard compromised helpful laws because so many newbies came in and did not understand the history and the reason for the way things were written.
This is a profession, and shouldn’t be treated like a gift to the most popular.

jerv's avatar

“I don’t understand why we feel the need to get rid of those who understand how the system works.”

Often because those that understand how the system really works are motivated more by lobbyists and kickbacks than by the voters.

@Judi I would like that too, but as implied above, by the time they figure out what they are doing, they know too much to even think about being effective. Just remember that a lot of incumbents stay in office on name recognition alone thanks to ignorant/apathetic voters, and that a lot of the problems we have are the result of people who have been in office for longer than the office has had walls. I mean, how can newbies cause that much havoc unless your turnover rate is so ridiculously high that it’s not even worth writing your legislator’s name on the door?
Besides, it may take an entire term for a Representative, but if it takes you an entire six-year term to figure it out then I don’t think you are smart enough for me to trust you to tie your own shoes, let alone serve in my government. In fact, if it even takes you more than a year then I’m not sure I want you in office. Don’t give people jobs they are not prepared/qualified to do!

ETpro's avatar

The obvious answer is because the Representatives and Senators would have to set such limits, thus assuring their own inability to get reelected. Remember that term limits for Presidents, the 26th Amendment, did not get pushed through Congress till 1947, and was ratified by ¾ths of the states in 1951. It was in reaction to FDR’s unprecedented 4 terms in office.

SuppRatings's avatar

The purpose was so that you’d have experienced people in congress. Unfortunately, the problem has arisen with such high age combined with lobbyist that it just leads to vast amounts of corruption.

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