If you haven’t noticed, there’s kind of a lot going on in Washington D.C. right now. The ongoing government shutdown certainly hasn’t stopped any politicking from carrying on, and though you might not know it from watching the news, legislators are still pursuing goals unrelated to border walls, Russia, or bipartisan bickering.
One of those goals is the idea of constitutional term limits, which U.S. Sen. David Perdue has championed since heading to Washington in 2014. Georgia’s junior senator joined up with some very high profile Republicans – Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT), to introduce a Constitutional Amendment that would impose term limits on members of Congress – three terms in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate.
Perdue has pushed the idea of ‘citizen legislators’ since early in his time in office in 2015. Indeed, he is the prime example of one, not having held any elected position before running for Senate and pledging to serve no more than two terms in office, (his first expires in 2020). Term limits are always a popular idea among the general public. A poll last year from McLaughlin & Associates showed that some 80% of Americans supported the idea of mandated term limits, including 89% of Republicans. President Donald Trump rose to popularity raging against “career politicians,” and pledging to “drain the swamp,” a mission he has found more difficult than anticipated.
“We need more citizen legislators, not career politicians. The rise of career politicians has created the constant gridlock crippling Washington,” said Senator Perdue Tuesday. “Term limits for Members of Congress are long overdue and still one on my top priorities in the United States Senate. As the outsider in the belly of the beast, I firmly believe term limits will help keep elected officials focused on getting results, and less on their own political self-interests.”
Term limits are naturally less popular in “the swamp” itself, where seniority often rules the day and longtime legislators are less than inclined to sign off on anything that would impose strict limitations on their careers. Critics have argued that term limits would push even more power towards lobbyists and other policy makers, who would have much more institutional knowledge with a revolving door of fresh lawmakers perpetually needing to learn the ropes.
If there was ever a time to start the debate though, or ever a president willing to do so, it may be now with this one. As one of Trump’s closest allies Perdue certainly has the ear of the White House, so stay tuned to see if this is the year that ‘term limits’ become more than wishful thinking.