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Term Limits: Pros and Cons
03/13/2019 Congress Anita W
keywords: Term Limits

Civics teaches that in The United States, the President serves a maximum of two terms. The fact is that it did not change until 1951. Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of The United States for a total of three terms, and unless Congress ratifies the Twenty-Second Amendment, again, he will be the only person ever to serve more than two terms. The same limits do not apply to most other federal, state, or local government officials. 

Concentrating on Congress

Members of Congress do not have a term limit. The debate continues to grow with both pros and cons to limiting how long a Senator or Representative serves in Congress. For example, Democrat Robert Byrd, West Virginia, served as a Senator for fifty-one years. In the same regard, Democrat John Dingel, Michigan, is the longest-serving member of The House of Representative at fifty-three years. 

Seniority runs supreme in the U.S. Congress. It is both beneficial and a burden on the shoulders of Congress. Senators serve six-year terms while Representatives serve 2-year terms. 

Term Limits for All: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • New ideas are hard to come by in Washington, DC. With term limits, newly elected voices bring fresh ideas to the table. Inspiration goes a long way, even in the U.S. Congress.
  • Term limits encourage voters to vote.  
  • Making connections in Washington D.C. is part of the battle of legislatingLobbyists are part of the deal. 
  • Limiting corruption seems like a dream when speaking about The United States Government.  New blood in Congress would limit the comfortable nature of corruption that grows over time and terms.

Cons:

  • The lack of term limits leads to stale ideas and stagnant point of views. The longer a member of Congress serves, the more likely they become isolated in D.C. and away from their district.
  • People assume an incumbent will win re-election. The presumption means lower voter turn out and discourages voters from veering away from "the norm."
  • Lobbying is akin to a swear word to voters. Special interests grow the longer a Congressman serves, and it is generally away from their voters' consensus.
  • Rogue Congressman are more apt to rise to the top if a term limit was part of the deal. During the last year of the limited term, the likelihood of corruption would increase exponentially.

No clear cut answer to the term limit debate is apparent. Politician and trustworthy do not generally go together. However, term limits would cause experienced leadership to step down, but the lack of term limits also allows the corrupt to stay in office for their entire life.


by Anita W
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