Sen. Pat Toomey wants to limit the number of years lawmakers are allowed to serve in Congress.
Wednesday he reintroduced a bill that would amend the Constitution to restrict members of the House to 6 years and the Senate to 12. He’s co-sponsoring the measure with Louisiana Republican David Vitter.
Toomey himself made a term limit pledge during his U.S. House campaign in 1998, and honored the pledge in 2004 when he opted to challenge then-Sen. Arlen Specter in the GOP primary rather than seek re-election.
“Congress should not be a body of career politicians who have forgotten why they were sent to Washington in the first place. We are here to do the people’s work, to solve the problems we face, and to leave to our children a stronger, safer, more prosperous nation,” Toomey said. “I am pleased to cosponsor a Constitutional amendment to enact term limits for both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this through.”
The limits Toomey proposed – 3 and 2 terms, respectively – are the same as supported by former Sen. Jim DeMint. The South Carolina Republican departed the U.S. Senate late last year to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. He had previously said he did not intend to run for a third term (his seat would have been up in 2016).
Known for his absolutist approach to governance, DeMint lead the conservative faction of GOP Senators and helped foment the Tea Party movement in 2010.
Aside the Pennsylvania Senator’s lack of vitriolic rancor, Toomey-DeMint similarities are numerous.
Toomey recently rose to the chairmanship of the Senate Steering Committee, the de facto caucus for Senate conservatives. He previously served as president of another far-right advocacy group, the Club for Growth.
DeMint’s 2011 term limits bill – co-sponsored by Toomey - failed by a 24 to 75 margin in the Senate in February 2012.
Critics of the measure say that only voters have the right to impose term limits. Further, they contend, a lack of seasoned legislators would empower the executive branch as well as unelected bureaucrats in the legislative branch.