In an effort to abolish gridlock in Washington D.C., Senator Jim DeMint-R SC hopes to enact the first new Constitutional Amendment in 17 years - term limits.
When one thinks of stalwart Senators, names like Kennedy, Byrd, and Specter come to mind. All these Senators have spent their entire working careers inside the Beltway. However, with a recession in full swing, congressional politics more partisan than ever, a couple Senators would like to shake things up a bit.
"Americans know real change in Washington will never happen until we end the era of permanent politicians," said DeMint. "As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to buy off special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork – in short, amassing their own power.”
For the millions of Americans who are fed up with business as usual, this new legislation could strike a balance with voters and take that power away from the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
However, changing the country’s oldest living document is no easy task. It requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate and must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The bill is cosponsored by Tom Coburn-R OK, Kate Bailey Hutchison-R TX and Sam Brownback-R KS.
The DeMint measure would limit every member of the House to three terms or six years and every Senator to two terms or 12 years. However good this sounds, getting members of Congress to vote themselves out of a job will prove very difficult.
In the past couple of decades, Washington insiders have been reelected 90 percent of the time, according to DeMint who is a freshman Senator.
Co-sponsor of the term-limit bill Coburn couldn’t agree with DeMint more. “The power of incumbency has created an almost insurmountable advantage for Washington politicians.”
“Incumbency allows politicians to raise millions of dollars in campaign funds in exchange for earmarks,” he said. “Incumbency gives Congress the power to raise money for itself – Congress just approved itself an increase of nearly $250 million from the U.S. Treasury that members will spend to promote themselves.”
Some argue that long-serving legislators provide experience and stability for the country.
“It wasn’t the ‘people’ who gave us a $12 trillion debt, an IRS tax code seven times longer than the Bible, over 1,700 departments of the federal government, trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, $100 trillion long-term shortfall in Social Security and Medicare, the Wall Street and auto bailouts, and the pending health care takeover,” DeMint explains.
The tea party folks say term limits increase the Congressional turnover needed to ensure the transparency, accountability and limit lobbying efforts public servants are subject to on yearly basis.
“By ratifying this amendment, we can end the tremendous advantage enjoyed by incumbents in Washington, break long-lasting ties to special interests and lobbyists, and transform Congress from the body of career politicians that it has become, to a chamber of true citizen legislators,” says DeMint.
While term limits seem like a great idea especially since Congress suffers dismal approval numbers, 29 percent, most Washington insiders say the bar is set rather high for a group of politicians who can’t agree on much these days to amend the Constitution.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner