Periodically, since the era of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, discussions have occurred regarding the extension of term limits for elected legislators in the Congress of the United States.
Prior to President Roosevelt, no president served more than two four-year terms. President Roosevelt, in a very contentious decision, decided to run for a third term, his reason being that a change in the presidency should not occur in the middle of World War II. Historically, this reasoning did not hold true as President Roosevelt died during the war. As a result, Vice President Truman assumed the presidency and according to historians, did a very good job.
The failure of our current president, the House of Representatives, and the Senate to deliberate and pass meaningful legislature is an absolute disgrace. While the pressing problems of immigration, mass shootings, foreign policy, federal debt, deteriorating infrastructure (bridges, highways, etc.) continue to grow, what is our president, federal government and congress doing to address these issues? Nothing!! They are obsessed with a countless number of investigations, committees, subpoenas, legal arguments, interpretation of the constitution, trying to impeach President Trump etc., etc.
Far too many of our members of congress place priority on getting re-elected or giving speeches on television instead of working on what’s best for our country according to the guidelines of the constitution.
Of the 100 members of the senate, 14 have served 20-plus years, four have served 30 or more years. Among these, Senator Pat Leahy (D) Vermont has the most time served with 44 years. One hundred senators have also served in the house. Those with service in the house, prior to the senate, total 23 members who have 20-plus years’ service. Among these is Senator Dick Durbin (D) Illinois with 22 years in the senate after 14 years in the house, for a total of 36 years in congress. Both senators and representatives receive a base salary of $174,000 per year. This salary raises according to additional assignments, such as chairman of a committee, leadership roles, ranking members, etc. Example: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has been in office 31 years and receives a salary of $225,000 per year.
Other compensation for “perks” includes paid travel for foreign and domestic government business, car mileage, insurance and retirement plans and more that are very generous. These are some of the reasons to impose term limits on members of congress and help “drain the swamp” in DC.
It would require a constitutional amendment to put a cap on term limits. In 1951, an amendment was passed to limit the office of the presidency to two four-year terms. We need a similar amendment for members of congress. Nikki Haley, former government of South Carolina and former ambassador to the United Nations, has put forth an outstanding effort to accomplish this change through the Stand for America organization (www.StandforAmericaNow.com). Every citizen should work toward making this proposed amendment a reality.
James P. Welsh