Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution Thursday which would limit the number of terms that a member of Congress may serve to three in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate.
Term limits for members of Congress has been spotlighted in recent weeks as former Senator and Vice Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman announced that after reflection on his 24 years in office that he now supported term limits.
The Lieberman statement was followed by a polls conducted by the Gallup Organization released last week showing that the American people would vote for congressional term limits by a 75 – 21 margin.
Phil Blumel, president of U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s largest term limits advocacy group, called on Congress to send the Constitutional Amendment to the states for them to decide saying, “The public clearly wants term limits, and it is the ultimate conflict of interest for federal elected officials to prevent the states from making the decision on whether their own terms should be limited.”
Representative Salmon is introducing the amendment on a tide of public dissatisfaction with Congress, and Blumel believes this public outcry may break the log jam that has prevented consideration stating, “Many members of Congress are hearing from their constituents that they want the tough issues in D.C. to be acted upon rather than a continual kicking of the can down the road. In this context, they are realizing that a constitutional amendment limiting terms for members of Congress may be the only way to make our political system work again.
“Now, Congress faces a crisis. The people hold the legislative branch of our federal government in such low regard largely because they believe that they are no longer represented by fellow citizens but instead by professional politicians. It is time to change this. It is time to put citizens back in charge. It is time to pass congressional term limits.”
Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has introduced the same congressional term limits amendment in the U.S. Senate.
To become part of the U.S. Constitution, the amendment requires a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress and ratification by three quarters or 38 out of 50 states.