A former Democratic governor and a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania are teaming up to call for term limits for members of Congress.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Pat Toomey penned a joint op-ed first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday explaining their support for congressional term limits and how Pennsylvanians can help make it happen.
The two recalled a time when members of Congress were less divided and accused those in office now of “frequently” focusing “more on blaming each other than on finding solutions” and described term limits as the solution to better government.
“Our elected representatives seem afraid to do anything that would jeopardize their reelection,” Rendell and Toomey write. “Term limits allow them to operate without that pressure, secure in the knowledge that they are not risking the position that could be a lifetime career. They would be able to cast votes knowing that the risk they are taking would not jeopardize their entire future.”
They explain that while a two-thirds vote of members of Congress to make term limits a constitutional amendment was “unlikely,” that a convention of states proposing an amendment could be a plausible path to making an amendment.
“We call on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to get the ball rolling by passing a resolution applying a congressional term limits convention,” Rendell and Toomey write.
They explain that 34 states could apply for a convention to limit congressional term limits that would result in each state sending delegates. 38 state legislatures would have to ratify the appropriate term limits for Congress before becoming part of the Constitution.
They link to a poll, commissioned by a pro-term limits group, and conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, that showed 79% of Pennsylvanians supporting term limits on Congress. According to the analysts at FiveThirtyEight, Pulse Opinion Research favors Republicans by an average of 1.5% and has an overall C+ grade.
Rendell and Toomey end the opinion piece by quoting Benjamin Franklin as proof that term limits would benefit the nation.
“In free governments, the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors. … For the former to return among the latter does not degrade, but promote them.”
“We couldn’t agree more,” Rendell and Toomey write about Franklin’s quote. “Let’s work on something our country is united behind, and increase faith in government. Let’s place term limits on Congress.”
Term limits are a horrible idea. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get to know several hundred legislators? Do you have any idea how many rounds of golf it takes before you own a politician? The financial hit to the firm would be absurd, having to buy that many martinis and rounds of golf to own that many more freshmen legislators. Worst idea ever.
I think this is a FANTASTIC idea!
Oh good. These two are asking for ways to make government less responsive to citizens, and more controlled by lobbyists. Term limits is the best sounding dumb idea.
Those are 2 guys who don’t understand the influence of staff–especially on newly elected members. Being a legislator is more complicated than generally known. Unelected staff who know the ropes and have the member’s ear can hold considerable sway. Term limits just hand more power to staff.
You’d get more reform accomplished by ending gerrymandering.
Still, some districts will never be competitive. That’s where parties should stop embarrassing themselves by letting their bottom feeders take safe seats and keep them forever. You could dump those guys through term limits, but term limits wouldn’t prevent the replacement from being just as bad or worse.
Term limits are a disaster. Puts more power in the hands of staffers and lobbyists. It doesn’t stop anyone from running for a different office at the state level, for example. It depletes institutional knowledge. It provides zero incentive for any fiscal responsibility, because lawmakers won’t be around to sort out the damage if they cause it.
It’s a bad idea.
Some good politicians deserve to stay. Others should never have gotten elected once. Parties are some to blame for incompetent and unfit candidates. But voters are the ultimate authority and must shoulder the blame. For example, who did not know Trump was an asshole moron, but voted for him anyway?
There is a limit now; it’s called winning elections. If you are no good, the voters should “fire” you. Voters have nobody to blame but themselves.