Wednesday, April 24, 2013

READ: Back To The Future: Rep. Salmon Proposes Term Limits Constitutional Amendment; Proposal Just As U.S. Sets Record For Constitutional Amendment Drought

Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5) has filed a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to limit the number of terms a Congressman or Senator can serve, hearkening back to the 1990's, when he was one of very, VERY few to actually make AND KEEP a term-limit pledge as that was a popular issue.

Salmon is joined by five co-sponsors in the House - including fellow Arizonan David Schweikert (R-CD6).  The text is simple, limiting House members to three two-year terms and Senators to two six-year terms.  It addresses the "Jan Brewer issue" slightly differently for House and Senate members by stating that if you are elected to fill more than half of a House term, it counts as one term; for the Senate, it counts if you are appointed or elected to fill more than half of the term.

Salmon believes that term limits would improve our democracy: I have always believed that universal term limits will help make members of Congress more accountable to their constituents, not the special interests that often keep them in office."  However, he claims that Americans are "increasingly favoring" term limits; the idea was popular for awhile, waned, and has apparently picked up with bad feelings towards recent Congressional inaction and infighting.

Salmon would need to get the House and Senate to approve this resolution with at least 2/3 majorities and then have 3/4 of the 50 states' legislatures ratify it within seven years for it to become a Constitutional Amendment.

We have not amended the U.S. Constitution since 1992, when we prevented Congress from raising its own salaries .  In fact, just this month, we set the record for the longest period of time between constitutional amendments in the last 100 years!

In 1913, we ended a 43-year drought by ratifying amendments approving the income tax (16th) and popular election of Senators (17th).  Since then, we added amendments pretty regularly. But, April marks our 251st month without an amendment - the most "dry" months since just before the income tax amendment.

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