Term Limits Constitutional Amendment Introduced

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Term Limits Constitutional Amendment Introduced

The idea for imposing term limits on members of Congress has been around for decades but has failed to advance in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. With a new session of Congress beginning, there is a new move to add a term limits amendment to the Constitution.


Sen. Ted Cruz introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3, which would impose a limit of 3 terms on House members and 2 terms on Senate members. House Joint Resolution 12, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Norman, is identical. These amendments would not take into account the terms of current members of Congress when the amendment takes effect.


Those backing term limits argue that long-serving members of Congress become entrenched in the system and forget about serving the people whom they represent. They argue that having a legislative body that has people who will soon be leaving it would be more attuned to the needs of the people who live under the laws that it passes. Opponents of term limits counter that any time voters are tired of their members of Congress, they can vote them out. They also say there is no evidence that indicates that term-limited legislators perform any better than those who serve without limits.


In the 1990s, some states passed laws limiting the terms of legislators and members of Congress. However, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not set additional qualifications for members of Congress that go beyond what the Constitution specifies. This invalidated any state term limit laws that apply to Congress, so supporters must pass a constitutional amendment to achieve their goals.


If passed by Congress, three-fourths of the states would have to ratify the amendment for term limits to take effect.

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