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Draining the Swamp: Constitutional Amendment for Term Limits Will Be Introduced Next Year

Created: 09 December, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) announced Friday in an op-ed in The Washington Post that they will be introducing a constitutional amendment to implement term limits for Congress.

"On Election Day, the American people made a resounding call to “drain the swamp” that is modern Washington. Yet on Capitol Hill, we seem mired in the same cycle of complacency: The game hasn’t changed, and the players remain the same," Cruz and DeSantis write.

Both lawmakers say that while congressional term limits have been prevented by a "permament professional class," the solution has broad support from the public. Cruz and DeSantis are working to implement a policy position championed by President-elect Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

"Passing term limits will demonstrate that Congress has actually heard the voice of the people," they write.

The constitutional amendment that will be introduced when the 115th Congress convenes will call for a limit of two terms for U.S. senators and three terms for House members. That would mean senators could serve only 12 years while members of the lower chamber would be limited to 6 years.

"In an age in which partisan divisions seem intractable, it is remarkable that public support for congressional term limits is strong regardless of political affiliation — huge majorities of rank-and-file Republicans, Democrats and independents favor enacting this reform. Indeed, according to a Rasmussen survey conducted in October, 74 percent of likely voters support establishing term limits for all members of Congress. This is because the concept of a citizen legislature is integral to the model of our democratic republic." - Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis

Passing a constitutional amendment in Congress would require two-thirds approval from members of the House and the Senate and then would need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Cruz and DeSantis call on Republicans specifically to get behind the measure as the party now has full control of the legislative branch. Yet, the biggest challenge for both lawmakers in a political environment that has not only become increasingly hyperpartisan, but personal, is getting Democrats on board.

There is no way a constitutional amendment to implement term limits will pass without support from Republicans and Democrats and then it will need to be ratified by 38 states. It is a tall order, and arguably a long shot, but victory in Congress alone would be a big win for the incoming Trump administration.

Photo Credit: Orhan Cam / shutterstock.com