Thursday, July 6, 2017

Demand your lawmakers’ support for the Cruz, DeSantis term limits push


Demand your lawmakers’ support for the Cruz, DeSantis term limits push

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to use his time in the White House to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C. Only time will tell if he can. But if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) get their way, Trump’s going to have a great deal of reform help.

This week, Cruz and DeSantis officially introduced a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Congress.

“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,” Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions.”

The proposal would limit members of the Senate to two six-year terms and House lawmakers to three two-year terms.

The measure, which DeSantis calls a “first step” to true government reform, has the backing of Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and David Perdue (Ga.).

Unfortunately, there is currently no indication that the GOP leadership controlling Congress has any interest in advancing the effort.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made his position on the issue clear last year when he told reporters: “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), meanwhile, hasn’t indicated whether he believes the proposal will come up for a vote.

If the proposal were able to clear both chambers of Congress, it would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of the nation’s state legislatures before becoming law.

Term limits have overwhelming support for term limits among U.S. voters. Still, when Sen Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced a term limit proposal in 2012, it was defeated by an abysmal margin of 24-75 in the Senate.


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The Founders and Term Limits: Jefferson

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One of the most common questions we’re asked here at U.S. Term Limits is, “how did America’s founding fathers feel about term limits?”
Though the Articles of Confederation — America’s first governing document — did include a provision for mandatory rotation (term limits), the idea was later voted down by delegates at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
Not surprisingly, an analysis of the Framers’ writings shows that what the term limits supporters among them lacked in collegial agreement, they more than made up for in an ability to predict the future. Those who called for rotation at the time of America’s founding have since been vindicated, as everything they cautioned against has now become reality.
Thomas Jefferson, a student of European history, did not attend the Constitutional Convention of 1787. But upon his return from France, he took one look at the proposed Constitution and spotted a key omission.
“The…feature I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President,” he wrote.
He went on to describe the plight of Poland in the 16th-18th centuries, where a new system of election for monarchs was supposed to “exclude the idea of one continuable for life.” But, as Jefferson noted, that’s not how it worked out. Polish elections were a ruse — accessible only to members of rich and powerful dynasties — who would rarely leave office in spite of them. Sound familiar?
Jefferson’s skepticism of elections alone as a remedy to centralized power shows why he became known as the sage of Monticello. Nearly 200 years after his death, American journalists ask on a daily basis why elections can’t function as term limits. Jefferson knew the answer in 1787.
He remained a stalwart advocate for term limits for the rest of his life, speaking of the need for citizen legislators who could properly express the views of Americans in government. He decried “office-hunters,” the political animals who’d be subject to “degeneracy” after too much time in office.
As President, Jefferson followed George Washington’s precedent by serving only two four-year terms. In a letter penned during his second term, he hoped the precedent would one day lead to a constitutional amendment limiting presidents to eight years in office. This became a reality when the 22nd amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1951.
Sources:

What Did the Founders Have to Say About Term Limits?

 


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