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Term Limits In Congress Essay

1007 words - 4 pages

"If you don't want your cookies to burn, don't leave them in the oven too long" ("Term limits can help quash corruption", 2006). People often believe that the older one is, the wiser they become. But what happens if the person becomes corrupt or outdated. This could be a huge problem, especially if they are in charge of an entire nation. That's why it's important political offices are given set term limits. However, members of Congress have no term limits. Term limits need to be placed on members of Congress to keep the government running efficiently, fairly, and up to date.
As previously stated, there are currently no term limits for members of Congress. A single term for a senator is six years. Two years is a single term for a member of the House of Representatives( "Congressional terms and term limits", n.d.). Incumbents are allowed to run for reelection as many times as they wish. This makes it incredibly difficult for new comers to be elected. Incumbents have obvious advantages. They use their franking privileges to mail campaign ads for free. The public also knows how he/she will most likely vote. Since it seems futile for new potential congressmen to run for election, there are very few new ideas and opinions in the legislative branch. This is bad because the world is constantly changing and evolving. There are several controversial subject matters that an "old-fashioned" mind would have very strict beliefs about, even though the world thinks differently now. Some members have been congressmen longer that constituents. Representative Charles Rangel will be running for his 23rd term. Rep. John Dingell has been a constituent for less than half his life. He currently 87! How can one be informed of the world around them, if they have been focusing only on controlling it? How can one make informed, modern choices, if they don't know what's going on? This would cause out of date decisions. To avoid this, term limits would have to be placed to ensure the flow of new ideas ("EDITORIAL: Whatever happened to term limits", 2014).
Term limits have been a topic of interest in the past as well. In the 1990's, over 20 states set limits on their own congressmen. Following this in 1995, there was a Supreme Court case, U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, that ruled "states cannot impose term limits on their federal Representatives or Senators," ("Congressional terms and term limits", n.d.) While this outcome was not favorable, it was decided by only a single vote. Even though there aren't term limits at the federal level, there are still limits at the state level. 37 out of 50 governors have term limits. All but one state has either term limits or age requirements for supreme court justices. And 9 out of 10 mayors are bound by term limits. A recent Gallup poll discovered that 75% of Americans believe in limiting the terms of Congress. If the states think term limits are a good idea, why doesn't Congress? …Because it primarily affects them (Fund, 2013)....

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