Republican senators call for ending era of ‘permanent politicians’
Don’t expect the U.S. Congress — packed with old men and women who have been in office for decades — to embrace a proposal to term limit themselves.
“Americans know real change in Washington will never happen until we end the era of permanent politicians,” DeMint said.
“Over the last 20 years, Washington politicians have been re-elected about 90 percent of the time because the system is heavily tilted in favor of incumbents.”
Coburn says the best way to ensure a government of 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 four Republican senators proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit members of the House of Representatives to three, two-year terms — and members of the Senate to two, six-year terms. Easier said than done.
Previous efforts, dating back to the birth of the nation, have come up short and this one will likely fail as well.
Those in power like to remain in power, and they don’t like to tinker with the U.S. Constitution. They also argue that Americans should be free to vote for whom they want.
Calls for congressional term limits have a history.
Republicans won control of the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years in 1994, promising congressional term limits. But once in power they failed to deliver.
A subsequent Supreme Court ruling struck down congressional term limits as unconstitutional. So backers of the proposed amendment want to change the Constitution.
To become law, the proposed amendment would have to clear a high bar in what has become an increasingly divided Congress. A two-thirds majority vote would be needed by both the House and Senate, and then the measure would have to be approved by three-fourths of the 50 states.
Interestingly enough, DeMint and Coburn, who often complain about the old ways of Congress, are in their first terms.
Hutchison and Brownback are in their fourth and third terms, respectively, and they don’t plan to run for re-election. They would like to remain on the public payroll, however. They intend to run for governor of their states.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (DeMint speaks alongside other lawmakers in February)