Op-Ed: Term Limits for Congress – The Cure for Corruption

Over the past several years, there has been the movement to “drain the swamp,” but are we doing anything about it? It may be in our best interest to, and that should start with placing term limits on Congress. The lack of term limits is the cause of government malfeasance. 

I firmly believe that career politicians should not exist. First and foremost, by entering public office, you are a servant to the people. Too many times politicians end up serving for decades while not having much to show on their record. This isn’t a scenario only seen on one side of the aisle, it affects every part of the political spectrum. 

The primary effect of placing term limits on Congress would be that you would enable more cooperation and deter partisanship of elected officials. When elected, these congressmen and women would only have a certain amount of time to enact the proposals they promised on the campaign trail. Today, we see even creating a stimulus bill for the American people becomes a partisan issue where there are lots of arguments and accusations. A cap on term limits would force members of the legislative branch to compromise and work with each other, making the federal government more efficient as a result. With less time, corruption would be reduced since elected officials wouldn’t be able to make as many under-the-table deals. 

Fortunately, there is a current movement for this to be an amendment to the Bill of Rights. Representative Francis Rooney of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have proposed to place a limit on terms for both the House and Senate. Among the people of the United States, there is broad support for this amendment. Studies have shown that among many different racial and political groups, all are in favor of term limits, with one estimate saying the amendment has a 60% approval rating, and another citing 82%. The vast majority of Americans want this to be a part of our system. 

One counter-argument for this proposal is the idea that by not allowing term limits, it would give a sense of stability to the government; through their time of service, they would attain more expertise and knowledge. This argument becomes illogical when you can say that for the presidency as well, as we moved away from one person ruling for decades to avoid corruption and abuse of power. It only makes sense to do the same for Congress. 

Who’s against this proposed amendment? You guessed it, incumbent politicians, because they’re in the business of keeping their jobs. Since ratification requires ⅔ of both houses and ¾ of the states approval, this is why we haven’t had an amendment passed yet. However, with the fierce partisanship and political gridlock that we have seen in the past several years, the tides may be turning in the people’s favor.


Thanks for reading,

Brian Inguanti