DENVER (KDVR) — A new effort is underway to address aging legislators in the U.S. House and Senate.
This comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell experienced multiple medical episodes where he appeared to briefly freeze up and after the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was 90 years old.
The bipartisan effort would need support from several states before it could become law in the U.S.
U.S. Term Limits is the national organization that’s leading the effort to pass a congressional term limits amendment to the Constitution.
This is not an age limit but a way to limit the number of terms. Right now, the organization does not specify the number of terms, because that’s something that will have to be debated and discussed as part of drafting the actual amendment.
“There is a concern that they’re perhaps not connected to how life is now, for America in general. It’s also a symptom that they’ve simply been there for too long. You’ve been there for 20, 30, 40 years, and that’s just not healthy for the institution,” said Constantin Querard with U.S. Term Limits. “Your job should be to go fix things and come home. Most of them look at their job as keeping their job and staying there forever, and that’s a terrible motivation for getting good things done.”
When asked, “If people didn’t want them in their position, why do they keep reelecting them to their position?” Querard answered:
“The incumbents have such an advantage in terms of name ID, institutional support, the support from the D.C. special interests, that it’s just not a fair fight. In 2022, 100% of Senate incumbents won reelection, and it’s not because there’s some incredibly popular bunch of people. You see the approval ratings for Congress are dismal, and yet, you can’t beat incumbents. That’s just because the system is so tilted in favor of incumbency.”
Historically, term limits are widely supported in Colorado. Colorado passed term limits on its own legislature and was one of the very first states to do it in the early 1990s.
It takes two-thirds of the states to pass an amendment, so 34 states would have to be on board.
It’s still up for debate how long term limits would be and if there would be a section clarifying if politicians could jump from the House to the Senate and have those limits still apply. The overall goal is to encourage people to run on the basis of merit, not seniority.