Should we have term limits on Congress?

Screen shot from CNN's YouTube video: Trump: I will impose term limits on Congress members

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Recently, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she is running for reelection. Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate at 84 years old and has been in office since 1992. If she is successful she will be in her nineties when the new term is up. She is far from the only member of Congress that has served for a very long period of time and is over 70.  For example, Rep. John Conyers took office in 1965 and is now 88, and Sen. Orrin Hatch took office in 1977 and is 83. Being a congressman or senator has become a lifetime job. The question is, with members of Congress serving decades in office and into very advanced age, should Congress have term limits?

Those in favor of term limits start off by pointing out that the founders of our country did not want career politicians. They wanted people to serve briefly and move on so someone else could take their place. President George Washington set the example himself by only serving two terms. People also talk about how, if members of Congress did not have the option to stay in Congress for life, they would not be so beholden to special interests, but would be more answerable to the voters. Plus, members of Congress, not having to worry about reelection, would be more willing to say and do what they feel is right without having to worry about what it would do to their reelection chances.

People against term limits point out that we already have term limits; they’re called elections. If people were more interested in voting for their self interests instead of for a given party, they would make more informed decisions on candidates. This leads to safe seats in Congress and allows these people to have lifetime jobs. People who are against term limits feel it is the people’s job to set term limits at the ballot box.

There are several members of Congress who have been in office for a very long time and who are reaching a very advanced age. They perhaps feel that their decades of experience are helping keep the government stable. There are people out there that feel we must limit the terms people can serve in office, to make our representatives answerable to the voters, not the special interests. Others feel we already have term limits in the form of elections.

This CNN video shows Donald Trump’s promise last year to propose a constitutional amendment for term limits:

The Issue

Should Congress have term limits? Or, do we already have term limits in the form of elections?

In favor of term limits

Those in favor of term limits see members of Congress trying to turn their offices into lifetime jobs. They feel term limits will make the members of Congress answerable to the people and not the special interests.

Against term limits

Those against term limits think we already have them in the form of elections. Plus, if people would be more interested in voting for a person, and not a party, then we would not see such longtime serving members of Congress.

We look forward to your comments.

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