Last week, we broke a story about Senator Jim DeMint introducing a Constitutional Amendment that would create Term Limits for members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Senator DeMint followed up today with a blog post explaining why we need this amendment. Please read and spread to your friends.
The people of South Carolina have given me the privilege of representing them in Congress for more than 10 years now, and over that period I've learned a great deal about how things work in Washington. One of the more unfortunate things I've come to realize is that Congress has the power to corrupt even those with the most honorable intentions. Too often, I've seen good, honest citizen legislators come to Washington only to realize that in Congress, you either conform to the system or find yourself on the outside looking in. As a result, the American people are left with more "career politicians" who go along to get along in Congress, and end up beholden to special interests, lobbyists, and big government policies.
Though there is no simple solution to this trend, there is a clear place to start: term limits. With term limits, we can put an end to the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to legislating, and begin enacting responsible legislation that is in the best interest of our nation. As a result, I will soon be introducing a constitutional amendment limiting current and future members of Congress to serving three terms (six years) in the House and two terms (12 years) in the Senate.
Let's face it, Washington has become far more powerful than any one person or party. If we want to change the policies, we must first change the process. By imposing term limits, we can ensure frequent turnover which allows for new ideas and fresh perspectives in Congress. Additionally, term limits will keep politicians in-tune with their constituents and less focused on pleasing those who promise to help get them re-elected.
While term limits are certainly a step in the right direction, they are not enough. I sincerely hope my amendment will be ratified, and then be followed by other structural reforms that make our public institutions more transparent and accountable. The American people deserve congressmen who fight to give them a voice rather than fight for their personal power and success. If the people want new policies and real reform, it's not enough to change the congressmen -- we must change Congress itself.