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17 Pros and Cons of Term Limits for Congress


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The issue on term limits for Congress has been an ongoing debate for years now and with some advocates proposing for its enactment, the controversial topic has again taken the limelight. Will limiting the number of terms a Congressman can have work for the country? To get an idea, here are arguments expressed by proponents and critics regarding term limits for Congress. It deters corruption of government officials.

One of the contentions of advocates for Congress term limits point out that the longer a person in power, such as a congressman, stay in office, the bigger the possibility for him or her to be more hungry for power and wealth which might make the person corrupt. However, if the time is limited and a politician is not eligible to run for another term, there will be lesser room for corruption since special interests will not be able to ask favors easily in exchange for donations for the supposedly next term.

It gives way to fresh and dynamic politics. If term limits for Congress will be enacted, deserving people who have not yet run for the seat will be given a chance to serve. As opposed to a political system which allows congressmen to run for several terms, a limited term in Congress can mean fresh ideas coming from younger politicians who may have new contributions to make.

It encourages politicians to do better service. Supporters of term limits for Congress see it as a way for members of Congress to pay more attention on doing their jobs and serving their constituents.

Since they will not be allowed to run or extend terms, there will be no reason for them to be distracted by focusing on how they will win on the next election. It gives room to inexperienced politicians.

Critics of term limits argue that most new politicians tend to be ideological and lack the experience long-term politicians have. They also point out that young or new legislators may be too impulsive or eager to prove their skills and capabilities, making them reluctant to compromise on issues which is important to solve problems in the government.

Being new legislators, this might bring about hindrances when it comes to passing laws and approving budgets for legit government programs. Performing and honest leaders will not be able to continue good service.

Opponents of term limits for Congress contend that if this is adopted by states, Congressmen who have shown excellent performance will not be able to finish their long term projects. Also, people who are not in favor of term limits are concerned the next legislators to be elected might not be able to continue the legacy of seasoned politicians since they were not the ones who started these projects.

Before his first days in office were even completed, Donald Trump had a re-election PAC in place and was raising money for his next campaign.

Incumbents can wield a lot of power to stay in office and term limits would help to cut this leverage away. The focus can be placed on governing instead of being elected.

It would limit the influence of lobbying. They do this because those people can represent their specific interests.

The only problem is that special interests are often contrary to what the will of the people happen to want. By establishing term limits in Congress, more new candidates would be able to present their ideas and that could help to balance out the scales of influence in each election.

It allows for newly elected officials to have influence. The system of seniority in Congress does have some benefits for leadership, but it also comes with a large disadvantage. Newly elected officials rarely receive powerful posts on committees or can influence procedures. That responsibility goes to those who have more seniority and power. As a result, new Senators and Representatives may spend more of their time trying to get a foot in the door than the time they spend actually crafting helpful legislation.

Term limits would make it possible for more elected officials to influence the direction of the country. It could limit the potential for corruption. When politicians have a specific time in office, there is less of a risk of corruption entering into the conversation. Newly elected officials will usually have less knowledge about how to influence Congress for their own personal gain.

New members are usually more skeptical of special interest lobbying efforts as well. Having more new faces come through because of term limits would make it more difficult to unduly influence future laws. It could create rogue politicians. When an elected official is in their last term in office, they can use that opportunity to drive legislation forward that may not be politically popular. They can pursue what they feel is best for their district and their country because criticism and everyday politics can then be ignored.

It is a chance to create meaningful and lasting change. Good leaders would be forced to retire. Term limits are beneficial if there are poor leaders in Congress that keep getting re-elected.

It changes the learning curve. For Representatives especially, their entire first term might be dedicated to learning how things work in Congress.

By enforcing term limits, more politicians would be forced to go through this learning curve and that could mean even less stuff gets done. Networking benefits would be lost. Over time, politicians develop a professional network, just like most people do in their own line of work.

The difference is that the network of a politician can include officials from other governments, from industry leaders, and people with niche expertise.


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There are some who believe that Congress benefits from fresh blood, while there are others who see the value in government continuity. Each side of the debate has points to make, so with that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of Congressional term .

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Learn about the pros and cons of term limits for Congress, plus find out about legislation creating term limits in Congress.

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The Pros of Term Limits for Congress. 1. Encourages Active Representation The inability of congress to take meaningful action on any number of issues is a frequent justification for the consistently low approval ratings of the institution among voters. Term limits for Congress have various pros and cons to be considered. Seniority creates the ability to facilitate change in Washington DC, but it also creates gridlock because congressional representatives also wish to continue being re-elected.

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Lack of term limits leads to a system of seniority, meaning those who have spent the most time in office gain more power (in committees, procedures, etc.); consequently, politicians focus on staying in office, districts & states don't receive equal power in Congress, and fresh new elected officials have limited ability to make changes. In the United States, presidential term limits were enacted in The concept was passed by Congress in , then ratified by the states on February 27, It would become the 22nd Amendment to the constitution, limiting a president to two terms in .