Farmers need to unite to get fair milk price

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney have performed a great public service by introducing a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Congress. This was a major issue raised by President Donald Trump in 2016, and polling shows overwhelming support from the American people.

There can be no doubt that term limits are needed.

The authors of the Constitution never expected membership in Congress to become a lifetime career, and for many years that assumption was correct. The Congressional Research Service concluded that “most lawmakers in the 18th and early 19th centuries can be characterized as ‘citizen legislators,’ holding full-time, non-political employment and serving in Congress on a part-time basis for a short number of years.”

Today, unfortunately, most senators and representatives stay as long as they can be re-elected or until they have become so powerful that a lobbying firm makes them a generous offer.

The longer congressmen stay, the more they adopt the Washington point of view — that Big Government is good, that government should provide special advantages for special interests and that the greatest sins are to reduce government spending and to provide equal treatment for all.

Term limits would put an end to the professional congressman who serves for decades. It would break up the networks of long-serving congressmen and lobbyists.

Term limits alone will not turn a professional legislature into a citizen legislature. Big salaries, generous health and retirement benefits, yearlong sessions and large staffs are among the other issues that must be addressed. However, without term limits it is unlikely we will ever return to the citizen legislature that was a foundation of the government established by the founders.

Peter J. Thomas

Warrenton, Va.

The writer is chairman of the Conservative Caucus.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(6) comments

Term limits are just another way of you telling me who I can't vote for.


Ever notice when Republicans have complete power in Congress there is never a mention of passing term limits. I do find that interesting.

hermit thrush

term limits are a terrible idea which would only empower lobbyists.

Charlie McGrath

And how is that? We would lose all that "experience" politicians talk about. Experience at what?


States have tried it. What you say is true at first. Then the culture adapts. With the hindsight of this, the learning curve will be even shorter. And lobbyists are empowered by the fact that legislators are constantly having to stick a hand for money out so they can stay in office so they can someday have real power. With term limits, something will have to replace seniority for determining committee chairs and such. With term limits, there won't be the constant hunger for money to be reelected, because there won't be any reelection. Any change to the current system has got to be an improvement. Legislators spend more time on the phone calling people and asking for money than they do actually legislating. That's why they know so little that they have to accept pre-written legislation from lobbyists. I would change one thing though, and make it a term limit of one consecutive term, no limit on lifetime terms. Nobody in office and running for that office.


Term limits would be a great start. Then somehow we need to lower the percentage of lawyers in government.

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