Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas, cosponsored House Joint Resolution 12 (HJR12) Tuesday proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for term limits on Congress. U.S. Term Limits, the largest and oldest organization dedicated exclusively to limiting the terms of elected officials, is grateful to Arrington for backing term limits on congressional offices.
Who else would know better than incumbent members that term limits are an important and necessary reform to fix a dysfunctional federal institution?
Two resolutions have been introduced in Congress calling for twelve years maximum in the U.S. Senate and six years total in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR3), sponsored by Texas Senator Ted Cruz has fifteen senators signed on to the measure with several more expected to join as cosponsors.
House Joint Resolution 12 (HJR12), sponsored by South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman has a total of 64 members on board. All-in-all, support is expected to exceed 100 members during the 117th Congress.
Rep. Arrington has long been a supporter of term limits on Congress, previously sponsoring resolutions with terms of longer duration. This is the first time he has subscribed to the shorter term limit of six years in the House proposed in HJR12, the resolution being spearheaded by U.S. Term Limits.
"Support for term limits in Congress has never been as fervent as it is now," says Nicolas Tomboulides, Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits. He added, "We are grateful to Rep. Arrington for having the guts to admit the institution is broken and taking action on this important congressional term limits amendment."
According to the last nationwide poll on term limits conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, term limits enjoy wide bipartisan support. McLaughlin’s analysis states, “Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 80% of voters approve of a constitutional amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress.”
In addition, most voters prefer a four-year or less term limit length in the U.S. House. According to a recent poll on term limit length by McLaughlin & Associates, among those who support the implementation of term limits, these voters categorically favor fewer terms for members of Congress over several terms which leads to extended incumbency. While many elected officials insist that six terms of 2 years totaling 12 years is appropriate, American voters reject that notion. The overwhelming majority of voters, 85%, support four 2-year terms or less, with the plurality, 42%, in favor of two terms of 2 years.
SJR3 and HJR12 specify that the clocks of current members would not start ticking until after 38 states ratify the proposal. It details that "no term beginning before the date of the ratification of this article shall be taken into account in determining eligibility for election or appointment under this article."
In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton that states may not impose qualifications for members of Congress that are stricter than those written in the Constitution. Therefore, the only way to impose term limits on Congress would be through a constitutional amendment. Article V of the U.S. Constitution specifies that amendments may be proposed either by Congress or the states, both paths are being pursued as part of the U.S. Term Limits mission.