Members of Congress need brief term limits

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Congress is no longer the voice of the American people. It is the voice of lobbyists and special interests.

Setting term limits for the amount of time members of Congress can legally serve will hold our legislators accountable to us once again.

Since the United States’ founding, no law has ever passed to limit the number of terms a senator or representative can stay in office. Because
of this, many politicians turn their elected office into a lifelong job.

These career politicians get ingrained in the political machine that is Washington, D.C. For example, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd was first elected in 1958. He still holds the same office today. Some members of the House of Representatives have been in office for more than 50 years as well.

These Congress members were initially elected to represent us. Because they spend years in Washington and away from their constituents back home, though, lobbyists become their best friends.

Even if a member of Congress turns lobbyists away at first, the benefits, favors and gifts that are constantly waved in their faces become quite appealing.

Lobbyists know our senators and representatives very well. They are best buds. After some time in Washington, elected officials do what the lobbyists want and lose focus on what their constituents want.

If term limits for members of Congress were in place, the ties between lobbyists and our representatives would be broken. A Congress member
would not make a career as a politician and, therefore, would not have a long-term relationship with lobbyists.

With term limits, a fresh and inspired citizen would be able to run for office every few years. Because they campaign in their home state, the senators or representatives would be fully aware of what their constituents want and would be in tune with their needs.

When incumbents, or those who are already in the office, campaign for their reelection, they do so from Washington. They are also spending most of their time running for reelection instead of working on legislation that the people need.

The incumbents beat new candidates more than 80 percent of the time because they receive most of the campaign money from their party. Once
these career politicians are in office, they simply say whatever people want to hear to keep their job.

Ironically, in order to place term limits on members of Congress, Congress would have to vote and pass a bill that states as much.

Can members of Congress really pass a law to “fire” themselves? Most likely,
the answer is no. The senators and representatives that are already in office and already connected tightly to lobbyists and special interest groups will have to gradually fade out of their positions as elected officials.

Then, term limits can be implemented before a new generation of career politicians is born.

Author: Garrett Pekar

Garrett is a sophomore mass communication/journalism major from Granger, Texas. He is the opinions page editor for The Bells. Garrett is also an RA in McLane Hall as well as member of the men’s tennis team. His hobbies include spending quality time with friends and family, listening to music and playing some of his own on the guitar.

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