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Congressional term limits ensure accountability

Government officials should be elected because they want to implement ethical legislation throughout the United States, not because they seek power. We have term limits on the executive branch because we recognized that without it, we could potentially give too much power to one person and lose our sense of democracy. Having term limits prevents our country from turning into a dictatorship and allows for a somewhat consistent progression of new ideas. Imagine what the United States would be like if we had term limits on Congress.

When Congress was first formed, nobody anticipated senators and representatives staying more than six or three years respectively. However, by the early 2000s, senators were in office for an average of 11 years and members of the House could be in office for an average of six.

Nowadays, it seems as if the American public’s trust in government has vastly decreased, and they look towards the executive branch to make their voices and concerns heard. However, it’s the legislative branch in which change needs to occur. Most senators and members of the House seem to do whatever they can to get themselves reelected – since there is no limit to how long they may serve. They look to keep their jobs rather than help their communities too often. Implementing term limits would help to ensure that elected officials do what is right for the people whom they represent rather than what will ensure their reelection.

Furthermore, term limits would help to ensure special interest groups do not have huge influence over legislation. When members of congress stay in office for an extended amount of time, they usually begin to build alliances with certain special interest groups to ensure that they will be reelected. They vote in favor of these groups, regardless of what the people they represent want and they in turn get funding for their reelection campaigns, making it so that no up-and-coming politicians can defeat them.

Many people will argue against term limits saying that voting new people into office puts inexperienced people into government. However, congressmen in their first terms have been proving that wrong for decades. People get acclimated to the system after being there for a short amount of time. They know what they are doing and they have experienced people around them to help.

Currently, Congress’ approval rating is embarrassingly low and many Americans are recognizing that there is a lot of corruption within the House and Senate. People don’t trust Congress, but they are quick to reelect their representatives because of name recognition and the influence those politicians have to prevent anyone from beating them.

If the same members stay in Congress for too long, it stalls progress. The longer the same members debate over the same issues, the longer it takes for changes to be made for the benefit of our country. Without a term limit, it creates “career” senators and representatives who become locked in a stalemate.

Enacting term limits would encourage new ideas, ensure politicians act in the favor of the people rather than in favor of reelection and reduce corruption of “career” Congressmen.

 

The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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