Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Should There Be Term Limits in Congress?


What are Term limits?
Term limits, in simple words, is a time limit of how long a person may stay in office. The purpose of term limits is to ensure there’s not just one type of candidate being elected and re-elected continuously. This also prevents said person from becoming corrupt and abusing power after a long period of time. For example, in the U.S the president has a limit of being in office for up to eight years depending on whether they get re-elected after their first term. This limit was implemented to ensure that we have a diversity of presidents and voices.

Extending Term Limits to Congress
Currently, The House of Representatives has a two year term before reelection, and the Senate has a whole six year term (“How Congress Works | Congressman Tim Walberg”). Potentially, limiting Representatives to a term limit of three (service would be limited to between two – six years and the Senators have a term limit of two (service would be limited to between six and 12 years) would increase productivity and decrease corruption.

According to Uma Rao, CHRO at Granules, “Deadlines impact people in a very meaningful way. They serve as motivators that drive people to accomplish goals, whether independently or as part of a team.” So having a deadline in office, members of Congress would be likely and motivated to make lasting and meaningful decisions. Beyond the associated stress of deadlines, deadlines are crucial for motivating and encouraging the people of Congress to work more efficiently compared to the seemingly slow problem solving seen now.

Term limits would limit the possibility for corruption. Corruption, in this sense, is working only for self gain instead of for the people. As of now, the average annual salary is $174,000 (NTUF) which is $158,920 more than the average minimum wage, $15,080 (Smith and Halpin). Though having a high wage doesn’t mean a person is corrupt, the huge gap between both wages does call for some concern on the possibility of corruption. For example Robert Mendez and George Santos, let their power and wealth get to their heads causing them to go on a deceptive power trip to gain more. Sen. Robert Mendez (D – NJ) used his position to accept bribes of gold bars, loads of cash, and even an expensive convertible over several years to protect business men and to benefit the government of Egypt (United States Attorney Office of Southern District of

New York). Another example is former Rep. George Santos (R – NY) who relied, “on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend [within] Congress and enrich himself” (United States Attorney Office of Eastern District New York) took contributions and applied for unemployment benefits, although still employed, to spend on just himself.

Term limits would also be good for ensuring fresh ideas and people are cycled through much sooner. Half of the Senate is sixty five or older and the House of Representatives are beginning to be in their late 50s (Cillizza). Though there’s nothing wrong being in that age range, the one of the issues is there’s not many new voices being elected for those positions. The same congressmen are being elected and re-elected every term without a limit, unless they feel ready to move on by themselves. Another being, these age ranges also can make people in these positions more susceptible to physical health issues which can interfere with making important decisions (CDC). For example Mitch McConnell (R – KY), 82, had experienced a heavy concussion along with a

fractured rib last March and has since been taking a toll on him ever since (Kapur, et al.). Last summer, he twice froze on camera during press conferences, leading to questions about his health. Though he plans to retire after his finished term in January 2027, that toll doesn’t seem to be fading away anytime soon which would further reduce his ability to make decisions in Congress.

A Small Rebuttal
While critics argue term limits are unconstitutional and result in inexperienced members of Congress and are unconstitutional, having experience alone doesn’t guarantee the commitment to serving the U.S. As previously highlighted, the salary between minimum wage workers and Congress officials is huge and can lead Congress officials to stay in office for gaining financially rather than the intended purpose. Regarding the point of term limits being unconstitutional, a valid point, but it’s worth considering the intent of the Founding Fathers. The intent being, a member of Congress wasn’t meant to be a full fledged career it was to be a service to the United states in a way similar to joining the military (Longley). Moreover, term limits rather fall in with the vision of the Founding Fathers who wanted working in Congress as a service, not a lifelong job.

Final Thoughts on Term Limits
To conclude, term limits present a variety of different challenges ranging from the potential of inexperience in Congress to concerns about the disruption of continuity. While acknowledging that these limits won’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution and will introduce some new challenges, it is essential nevertheless to consider the upsides of limiting the terms before making a final decision. As limited terms of service would further increase the functionality and promote a more honest Congress. Isn’t that worth exploring the potential more thoroughly of what could be brought by implementing limits on service?


Works Cited

CDC. “Promoting Health for Older Adults | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/promoting-health-for-older-adults.htm. Accessed 6 March 2024.

Cillizza, Chris. “2 charts that show just how old this Congress actually is.” CNN, 29 January 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/29/politics/congress-age/index.html. Accessed 6 March 2024.

Greenburg, Dan. “Term Limits: The Only Way to Clean Up Congress.” The Heritage Foundation, https://www.heritage.org/political-process/report/term-limits-the-only-way-clean-congress. Accessed 11 November 2023.

“How Congress Works | Congressman Tim Walberg.” Tim Walberg, https://walberg.house.gov/about/how-congress-works. Accessed 11 November 2023.

Kapur, Sahil, et al. “Sen. Mitch McConnell will step down as Republican leader at the end of the year.” NBC News, 28 February 2024, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/sen-mitch-mcconnell-will-step-republican-leader-term-rcna99337. Accessed 6 March 2024.

Kaufman, Stephen. “Term limits on presidents are a good thing. Here’s why.” ShareAmerica, 5 March 2018, https://share.america.gov/term-limits-presidents-are-good-thing/. Accessed 11 November 2023.

Longley, Robert. “Why No Term Limits for Congress? The Constitution.” ThoughtCo, 16 April 2022, https://www.thoughtco.com/why-no-term-limits-for-congress-3974547. Accessed 20 November 2023.

Lopez, Ashley. “Should Congress have term limits? Researchers broadly say no.” NPR, 29 October 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/10/29/1207593168/congressional-term-limits-explainer. Accessed 11 November 2023.

Meltzer, Joshua P. “Five reasons to oppose congressional term limits | Brookings.” Brookings Institution, 18 January 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/five-reasons-to-oppose-congressional-term-limits/. Accessed 11 November 2023.

NTUF. “Congress Pay & Perks – Foundation.” National Taxpayers Union, https://www.ntu.org/foundation/tax-page/congress-pay-perks. Accessed 12 November 2023.

Sharma, Radhika. “How deadlines can boost productivity.” HR Katha, 8 August 2023, https://www.hrkatha.com/features/how-deadlines-can-boost-productivity/. Accessed 12 November 2023.

Smith, Victoria, and Brian Halpin. “What are the annual earnings for a full-time minimum wage worker? – Center for Poverty and Inequality Research.” UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, 16 February 2012, https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-are-annual-earnings-full-time-minimum-wage-worker. Accessed 12 November 2023.

United states Attorney Office of Eastern District New York. “Congressman George Santos Charged with Fraud, Money Laundering, Theft of Public Funds, and False Statements.” Department of Justice, 10 May 2023, https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/congressman-george-santos-charged-fraud-money-laundering-theft-public-funds-and-false. Accessed 12 November 2023.

United states Attorney Office of Southern District of New York. “U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, His Wife, And Three New Jersey Businessmen Charged With Bribery Offenses.” Department of Justice, 22 September 2023, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/us-senator-robert-menendez-his-wife-and-three-new-jersey-businessmen-charged-bribery. Accessed 12 November 2023.

Yoder, Anika, and Olivia Pastrick. “Pros and cons of Congress age and term limits – The Reflector.” The Reflector, 8 March 2023, https://reflector.uindy.edu/2023/03/08/pros-and-cons-of-congress-age-and-term-limits/. Accessed 11 November 2023.

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About the Contributor
Michala Holland
Michala Holland, Staff Writer
Michala, a young Sophomore, is excited to get this club up and running. She spends her free time reading, sometimes hours at a time, and writing articles for the Newspaper club’s website. She plans to get the most out of her years in high school and to participate in as much as she can before moving somewhere else for her junior year. She hopes to do her best in writing up and coming news stories.

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