Should There Be Term Limits for Congressman and Senators?
Brodfuehrer, Jason P
Currently in the United States, we have a system setup where the average citizen is allowed to run for a seat in the House of Representatives or the Senate as long as they meet specific age and citizenship requirements. According to the United States Constitution, “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen (U.S. Archives 1). Additionally the United States Constitution states that, “No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen (U.S. Archives 1). With these minimum restrictions put in place by our Founding Fathers 236 years ago, they believed that an average citizen of the United States would have gained enough education, “worldly” experience, and maturity in order to successfully make the important decisions needed to run our country and provide checks and balances upon the President of the United States.
As you read the entire original part of the United States Constitution (minus the additions of the Bill of Rights or the Amendments that follow it) the Founding Fathers mention the stipulations of how long the terms are for Congressman (2 years) and for Senators (6 years), but there is no mention of anything in regards to how many times an average citizen can run for a seat in the House of Representatives or a seat in the Senate. Now I don’t know whether our Founding Fathers did that on purpose or if it was an unintentional oversight when they were drafting the final copy of the Constitution, but if you flash forward 236 years to the present, we now have come to a problem that has been steadily increasing for the past 50 years in our government. The problem that I am referring to is that our Representatives and Senators are making careers out of running for office and are looking out for their own interests rather than doing the job that they were elected to do and that is to lookout for the interest of the general population that they are representing. Our Congressman and Senators have been very crafty at hiding the main issue brought up by the Constitution by diverting attention to a very minor issue at the time and that was placing a cap on the number of times the President can run for re-election.
Prior to the ratification of the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, anybody who ran for President could essentially run for that office and be re-elected as many times as they wanted to run for it. Only 3 past Presidents tried to break the two term tradition that George Washington implied back in the 1790s. Franklin Roosevelt was the only one successful at breaking that tradition. He unfortunately passed away due to complications of polio during the beginning of his unprecedented 4th term in office. As a result Congress proposed and successfully passed the 22nd Amendment and it took place after President Truman left office in 1953. It was kind of important that the House and Senate did ratify this Amendment but they never solved the other problem that was just beginning in Washington which was the dawning of the “career politician”. ISSUE STATEMENT
The main issue that is up for debate is whether or not our Senators and House Representatives should follow the same type of term limits that our President has to abide by as a result of the 22nd Amendment. I personally don’t believe that we live in a Democratic society because our Senators and Representatives can be in office for an endless number of terms and only accomplish less than a handful of things for the people that they are...
Cited: Messerli, Joe. (January 7, 2011). Should Senators and Representatives in Congress Be Limited to a Certain Number of Terms in Office?. Retrieved from http://www.balancedpolitics.org/term_limits.htm
United States of America. (May 14, 1787). United States Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html
Walker, Nelson L. (2012). Tenure Corrupts. Retrieved from http://tenurecorrupts.com/
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