Every American seems to have anopinion the politics in Washington D.C.
as of late, but most people seem tostop short and just take aim at the Executive Branch. When people havegrievances, complains, or praises about the current politics and lawmaking inD.C., most have them with this branch of government. While it can be an easytarget to attack, they are not the branch that effects our lives as Americans,that would be the Legislative branch and while we only have a President foronly a few years, some Congressmen and women seem to stick around for decades.While a President only has four to eight years to work on their agenda,Congresspersons do not have this constraint which allows some of them to growcomfortable in their seats and not focus on why they are in Washington, tospeak and act on the behalf of their constitutes. This is why I believe thatCongresspersons in both the House of Representatives and the Senate need termlimits.
Becomingan incumbent in Congress seems to be a pretty decent paying job. They receivemoney from their political party, special interest groups, lobbyists, as wellas from many other outlets that has led up to a Congress with an averagecongressman having a net worth over one million dollars (Yonk). This wealthdiscrepancy makes it difficult for the average citizen to run for nationaloffice if a multimillion-dollar portfolio is needed to run. “Money is needed torun for reelection and the more money a campaign has the better chance thatthey win” said former State Representative Bob Heleringer, but this doesn’texplain the vast amount of personal wealth that congresspersons accumulatewhile in office. Term limits on Congress would take away the safety of a seatin Congress and help make it less like a job and more like the elected post itis supposed to be. Withevery passing year it seems that Congress becomes more and more partisan withit seeming like every law or vote falling along party lines, regardless of ifthe politicians even informed themselves on it.
This year we only saw a fewSenators vote their conscious and not just on party lines, with two of theseSenators retiring this year (Napper). Congressional term limits bring about anair of urgency that you only have a limited number of years to pass and vote onwhat you believe in. With no term limits congresspersons seem to just vote onwhatever keeps them in their office and not on what would be best. Congresspersonswith on their last term scare the establishment as they vote as they want tovote and become unpredictable as they have nothing to lose. Inalmost all jobs, seniority is seen as a great advantage. Seniority in Congress,however, has become the ultimate advantage.
“Congress isn’t being run bycongressmen, it is being run by the committees” Bob Heleringer explained. Committeesare created to focus on a particular interest of Congress and are usually theones that drawl up legislation and policy. This makes the heads of thesecommittees very powerful individuals (Hatch). This creates a Congress controlledby a few career politicians instead of by the whole Congress.
Term limits wouldmake it hard if not impossible to create these committees and even if they werecreated then they would be helmed by an individual that is knowledgeable aboutthe topic. Atthe end of my two interviews I asked both men if there should be congressionalterm limits and if so what would they make them. Both gave very differentanswers, but I would have to agree more with Mr. Napper’s “I believe that justlike the President, Congressmen in both the House and Senate need a 2-termlimit.” I believe that two six year term limits for Senators and six 2-yearterm limits would be optimal for efficiency in Congress and help steer Congresstowards its goal of policy, not politics.