The United States Government is in uncharted territory these days with huge eco-disasters, spending that is out of control, politicians playing politics instead of looking for solutions and the end is nowhere in sight. Congress doesn’t have the fortitude anymore, or even the structure, to actually do the work for the people or even by the people. Term limits have been imposed at may state level assemblies, and it has become time to look into the need to start having Congressional term limits.
Who would benefit from the implementation of Congressional term limits? The people of the United States would benefit greatly. Gone would be the days of Congressmen and Senators who are so tied up into corporate money and lobbyists that they are no longer in position to simply vote with their mind and conscious to do what is right, at least that’s what’s being said these days among the politico talk shows. But is that true? Let’s look at the current system, a proposed system and you decide for yourself.
The current system allows for an elected Federal official to sit until he/she is voted out of the office. Many, if not all, of these Congressional leaders have political action committees or PACS as they’re known. These PACS allow for the Congressman to raise funds and apply those funds in a discretionary manner. Congressional leaders are approached by businesses, individual citizens, groups of people with a similar agenda (sometimes known as lobbyists) and they’re bombarded with information on how to view a particular subject. The money comes in, the votes go out.
In a possible scenario of a new system, a newly elected Federal official is voted into an office that has a 4-6 year expiration date, so if they’re really going to get any good legislative work done, they have to get on track quickly, and stay there. Of course, the possibility exists that the newly elected keepers of the people may simply go for the money grab and be no better than we were to begin with.
So what is the difference by having Congressional Term Limits? At the very least, if the elected officials are getting nothing done, they are term limited out of office, instead of being able to campaign and politic to keep a job they are not doing effectively, and we get someone new. At least it would be a chance at something new to happen, no?
In Ohio, there is a Bill in the current legislative session (2009-2010), called HJR 8. This House Joint Resolution is to repeal the Ohio Congressional term limit law currently in effect. There is a widespread, grassroots initiative to defeat this Bill, with Ohioans not wanting to go back to the days of good ole boy politics. There are seven other states in 2010 that are looking at legislation on the tables for the repeal or modification of Congressional Term Limits. How these state level changes come out in the vote, and how they play to the populations could have a huge impact in the coming 2010-2012 election cycles.
Congressional term limits may not be the only answer, but they may be part of the overall solution needed to solve the issues in Congress. The type of person, and quite possibly, the quality of the person, running for a term limited office may improve if they know they only have one shot at getting the work done, and doing their best. Knowing that a Congressional term limit job has an expiration date may well serve notice that it is time for the US Government to once again be by the people, for the people. Will Congressional Term Limits be the answer?