Term Limits In US Government Essay Research — страница 4

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often agree with groups who combat term limits, yet they are quite reluctant to mobilize a strong opposition. The AFSCME is the most active union, and, like other term limit groups, collects valuable information about term limit campaigns within the states and relays it to interested groups. Since the AFSCME’s time and resources are limited, they restrict themselves to offering advice and occasional funding to state groups who support their cause (Benjamin 71). No other group of Americans will be impacted by the issue of term limitation more than the representatives and senators themselves. It is ultimately the congressmen who decide whether or not the Constitution will be amended to include rotation-in-office; therefore, their opinions on the topic are of the utmost

importance. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, of Texas’s 18th district, rose in adamant opposition to H.J. Resolution 2, which was a proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States limiting the terms of members of congress (Jackson-Lee 1). On February 12, 1997, Lee argued that “the issue of term limits is one that threatens the power of the American people to exercise a basic right granted by the founding fathers of our great country- the right to vote for the representative of their choice (Jackson-Lee 2). This resolution shatters the core principle of freedom and seeks to spoil a right that many sacrificed, fought and died for- the right to vote for whom they choose (Jackson-Lee 2).” In her speech, she later cited Article I, Section 2 of the constitution

which provides the basic requirements of anyone attempting to become a member of the House of Representatives. Lee then questions the constitutionality of the amendment by adding, “This language says nothing about the ability of current members of congress choosing who may not represent the people of a particular district by virtue of a member’s previous service (Jackson-Lee 3).” Just as many other members of the United States government feel, Lee thought the founders draft of the constitution has withstood the test of time on a variety of issues; if they “wanted to include a provision that limited the number of years that an individual could serve as a representative of a group of constituents, the most certainly would have done so. However, they did not [and] we are

wise to follow their wisdom (Jackson-Lee 4).” Representative Bill Archer (7th District, Texas) also shared Rep. Jackson-Lee’s thoughts on term limits, and he also voted against the proposals considered by the House on February 12, 1997. He discloses that 61% of the current House membership, and 44% of the Senate were, was elected within the last six years; as a result, “the last few elections certainly demonstrate that our country is experiencing term limits naturally.” Archer also feels that since the percentage of House members serving three years or less is higher in the 105th Congress than in and other Congress elected since 1952, “clearly, the voters have demonstrated their willingness to replace members they believe are not adequately representing them (Archer

1).” Conversely, Representative Kevin Brady (8th District, Texas) believes that term limits are a good way to attain the goal of keeping government “as near to the people as possible”, and showed this by voting for H.J. Resolution 2 in order to limit House members to six terms-twelve years- and Senate members to two terms-twelve years. From Brady’s experience in the Texas legislature and in Congress, he feels that “limiting members of the U.S. House equally to six terms provides members ample time to represent their constituents effectively, while preserving the original intent of a citizen-driven Congress.” By rotation legislation, he hopes “to ensure…new ideas and fresh citizens perspectives (Brady 1).” Another advocate of term limits, Rep. Ron Paul (14th

District, Texas) actually introduced the first term limitation bill of the modern era and has voted in favor of each bill introduced to limit Congressional terms to twelve years. However, term limits only somewhat address the issue of “career politicians.” To limit the lawmaking power of such individuals, Paul aims to eliminate “perks like the pension system” in addition to mandatory rotation-in-office (Paul 1). In order to keep government “…as near to the people as possible…”, imposing term limits on legislators is clearly an invalid method to accomplish this goal. The founders purposely excluded rotation-in-office from the Constitution because they felt no need to include such a statement when voters already levy term limits on congressmen through elections