‘We’ve seen the corruption’: House GOP aims to end career politics with vote on term limits for Congress
House Republicans are renewing a push for congressional term limits after taking a majority this month in an effort to confront the ‘corruption’ of career politicians.
Several Republicans have announced support for a measure imposing limitations on how long members may serve in the House and Senate.
Earlier this week, GOP South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman introduced H.J.Res.11, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit the number of terms someone may serve.
The proposed amendment from Norman, if ratified, would limit those serving in the House to three terms, for a total of six years, and those serving in the Senate to two terms, for a total of 12 years. For those elected during a special election to fill a vacancy, the legislation, according to Norman’s office, defines the length of a ‘qualifying term’ as at least one year in the House of Representatives and at least three years in the Senate.
Norman’s office also stated that the measure, which has 44 co-sponsors, starts the term limit counter after ratification, meaning politicians elected prior to that date would not be subject to term limits.
‘It’s inappropriate for our elected leaders to make long-term careers off the backs of the American taxpayer,’ Norman told Fox News Digital. ‘We’ve seen the corruption it can lead to. While there is value in experience, it’s easy to become disconnected from those you serve after too many years in Washington. Most Americans support term limits, but the problem is convincing politicians they ought to serve for a period of time and then go home and live under the laws they enacted.’
In agreement, Maine Rep. Jared Golden, the only Democrat co-sponsoring the legislation offered by Norman, said this week that the House of Representatives ‘was never intended at its inception to be a place where someone served for 30 years.’
‘Mainers voted in support of term limits in a large part because they don’t believe elected office should be a long-term career,’ Golden said. ‘Instead, they want fresh ideas and new leadership. Terms limits will go a long way towards delivering those ideas and leadership in Washington.’
Norman’s proposed amendment, which has been offered in the past, is exactly the type of legislation Florida GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz — a key holdout in Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker — is pushing for.
‘I’m a proud co-sponsor of Rep. Norman’s legislation for a Constitutional Amendment that would limit House members to 3 terms (6 years) and Senators to 2 terms (12 years),’ Gaetz told Fox News Digital.
Gaetz, who believes a measure surrounding term limits would ‘lead to a more effective legislature,’ said the type of legislation is ‘absolutely necessary to end the establishment gerontocracy that has ruled Washington, D.C., for far too long.’
‘During the week-long negotiations with Speaker McCarthy, we secured a historic opportunity to finally have a vote on terms limits on the House floor and will aggressively pursue its passage,’ Gaetz added.
Other Republicans are also enthused to support a measure imposing term limits for members of Congress.
During a Monday appearance on Fox News Channel’s ‘America’s Newsroom,’ Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer, who now serves as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said his constituents are ‘excited’ about term limits legislation.
‘The people in Kentucky back home this weekend, they were excited about the changes in the rules,’ Comer said. ‘They were the most excited about term limits. You know, this is something that Republicans campaigned on every election, but yet we haven’t had a term limits vote in the six years I’ve been in Congress. So I’m glad that we’re going to do that. We’re finally going to do the things that we campaigned on.’
GOP Rep. Don Bacon has also expressed support for a vote on term limits, telling reporters last week that he believes the measure would be a ‘good thing’ for House members to vote on, but that he doesn’t see it going far in the Senate.
The idea of limiting congressional service has been tossed around among lawmakers for years, but has never resulted in any serious legislation as members continue their decades-long careers in both chambers.
Eleven members currently serving in either the House or Senate have worked more than 35 years in one or both chambers. For instance, the longest serving member of Congress is GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, whose career in politics spans nearly 65 years from his time as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives in 1959. Grassley was first elected to the U.S. House in 1975 and later to the Senate in 1980, where he has served as chair of multiple committees during his more than 48-year career in federal politics.
Following Grassley, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, who served in the House for nearly 40 years before becoming the junior senator for the state in 2013, has a combined 46-year career in both chambers.
Other current members of Congress who have a more than 35-year career in federal politics include: Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden (42 years); Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (42 years); Kentucky GOP Rep. Hal Rogers (42 years); New Jersey GOP Rep. Chris Smith (42 years); Maryland Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer (41 years); Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin (40 years); Ohio Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur (40 years); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (38 years); and Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin (36 years).