Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have each introduced bills in their respective legislative chambers that would start a process to amend the U.S. Constitution limiting the number of terms served by members of Congress.
Introduced Tuesday with the support of Republican Sens. Debra Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and David Perdue (Ga.), the measure seeks to limit members’ tenure in the Senate to two six-year terms and in the House to three two-year terms.
“D.C. is broken. The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people. It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions,” read a statement released by Senator Cruz’s office.
“The time is now for Congress, with the overwhelming support of the American people, to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification. With control of a decisive majority of the states, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, we have a responsibility to answer the voters’ call-to-action. We must deliver.”
Undergirding Cruz’s statement, DeSantis followed with:
“Term limits are the first step towards reforming Capitol Hill. Eliminating the political elite and infusing Washington with new blood will restore the citizen legislature that our Founding Fathers envisioned. The American people have called for increased accountability and we must deliver. Senator Cruz has been instrumental in efforts to hold Congress accountable, and I look forward to working with him to implement term limits.”
Under Cruz’s plan, however, there is a clause which could be perceived as an incumbency protection plan: The proposal affects legislators who are elected to seats in Congress subsequent to the passage of the bill.
Section III of the Cruz motion reads: “No term beginning before the date of the ratification of this article shall be taken into account in determining eligibility for election or appointment under this article.”
While the bill does not keep current officeholders above the threshold of term limits entirely, it persists in allowing current legislators to remain and seek reelection for three additional terms in the House and two full terms in the Senate.
For example: Mr. Cruz’s current Senate term ends in 2018. Should he win reelection prior to the passage of his motion, but the bill eventually become law after January 2019, his limit as a member of Congress would take effect only under the circumstance he seeks reelection in 2024.
This would allow Cruz to serve a complete term until 2024 and then fall under the term-limit law and allow him a maximum of two further terms after a possible reelection campaign in 2018.
Although President-elect Trump’s pitch to “Drain the Swamp” in Washington embraces term limits, as do a majority of those polled, and the New York businessman has repeatedly expressed support for a law limiting congressional terms, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are opposed.
Commenting laconically on the concept of having his stay on Capitol Hill shortened by a new law, McConnell said: “We have term limits; they’re called elections.”
Despite the whirlwind of conservative outsiders winning federal office since 2010, don’t expect this motion to get very far given its lack of support with a majority of Democrats and many established Republicans.
[Breitbart] [Rasmussen Reports]