05 Mar Term Limits for Congress
President Trump in his election campaign for the presidency veraciously supported limiting the terms of the congressmen in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Banking on the undertones of this populist resolution and the fact that the approval ratings of the Congress, in general, had been abysmally low, President Trump ensured that as soon as he comes to power, he will take the seat in the white house, the people of the US will see a drastic shift in the structure and the functioning of the Congress. Although no such half measures have been implemented as of yet. It remains to be seen how the US lawmakers themselves will decide upon the fate of their own tenure.
Currently, legislators from both the houses are not bound by a particular duration for which they are supposed to hold the office. They can get themselves re-elected again at the behest of the mandate. But lately, murmurs of restricting the law-makers presence in the office has been doing the rounds. Curbing the House of Representatives’ tenure to six two-year terms and Senate’s to two six-year terms- 12 years for both- has majored in numerous Republican’s and a handful of Democrat’s agenda. In the backdrop of poor approval ratings, anti-incumbency, and rampant corruption, some lawmakers believe that rooting out the rotten will fix what is wrong in the system.
According to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, three-quarter of Americans would also support establishing term limits for the Federal Lawmakers. But opponents argue that this will eventually lead to the removal of the good legislators as well on whose shoulders the entire country is functioning. Calling the decision precipitous, they contend that it will be undemocratic to rob the people of America from deciding by whom they would want their district to be represented. Derailing the influence that the common public has on legislators and shifting it to the unelected bureaucrats is another ramification cited by those contending the term limits. Also, the common law of elections which has been embedded in the US constitution since time immemorial does well in countering the agenda of term limits.
The longevity, as well as seniority in each of the house, has been attributed to institutional knowledge and expertise on the different subjects of the lawmaking body. But in conjunction with this attribution, the claim of lawmakers treating their positions in the office from the standpoint of careers is also vocal enough. Instead of working upon the policies that could benefit the constituents of their district, many legislators are prone to spending too much capital for their re-election campaigns and posturing in public. The incessant interpersonal bickering between the two major factions- the Democrats and the Republicans- that the US public at times must be privy to can potentially be eliminated if the congressmen are constantly reminded of the limited amount of time they have in the Congress. It will pressurize them to work arduously for the masses. The transient nature of politics also beckons the inclusion of new ideas and fresh blood in the US Congress, which can only be ascertained when equal and fair opportunities are provided.
Although the current political scene in the US is still inundated with the lobbyist and populist advocacy, once the congressional term limits are brought into order, the situation can get even worse. The lobbyists will leave no stone unturned to assist those candidates to enter the office whom they would deem aligned with their own ideologies. But with the Americans firmly in favor of setting the terms limits for the congressmen just like the President, the needle on the decision still hangs in the balance. So, what do you think, Should there be term limits set for members of Congress?