Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis introduced a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would, if ratified, impose term limits on members of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Senators will be limited to two six-year terms and representatives would be limited to three two-year terms.
On social media, some of Cruz’s critics are giving him a second look, because most Americans support term limits. Sputnik News reported that a Rasmussen survey from October found that as many as 74 percent of Americans support congressional term limits.
Sen. Cruz boldly called Washington, D.C., “broken.”
“The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people. It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions,” Cruz said.
On Twitter, Cruz called for term limits, now.
That seems fantastic, but does Cruz actually want term limits right now? I think he meant to type, “starting sometime in the future when it won’t actually affect me.”
Some have called Sen. Cruz out on social media. Ted Cruz won his congressional election in 2012. If he runs again in 2018, does that mean that it would be the last six-year term he would be eligible to serve?
Absolutely not. Cruz would still be eligible for two more terms after he finishes his current term. Way down at the end of the amendment proposal, you can see where Cruz and his co-sponsors protected their own futures.
“SECTION 3. No term beginning before the date of the ratification of this article shall be taken into account in determining eligibility for election or appointment under this article.”
So much for ending cronyism.
If ratified, all of the current members of Congress will be given a fresh slate before their term limits would begin.
Besides, amendments can take some time to be ratified. It’s a process. The article proposed by Cruz states that it “shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission by the Congress.” Cruz could easily get another term in before ratification. Then, after that, he’d have another 12 years in Congress before he’d have to find another job or retire.
Cruz will be 48, at the very youngest, before his 12-year term limit could even possibly begin thanks to the text he proposed. More likely, it wouldn’t be ratified until after his next term begins. Consequently, he would be minimally 54-years-old before his 12-year term limit would begin. Maybe now would be a good time to mention that members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62, provided that they have completed at least five years of service, according to a Senate document.
Cruz said that lawmakers “have a responsibility to answer the voters’ call-to-action.”
“Term limits are the first step towards reforming Capitol Hill,” Rep. DeSantis claimed. “Eliminating the political elite and infusing Washington with new blood will restore the citizen legislature that our Founding Fathers envisioned.”
Term limits are great, but they certainly wouldn’t have the most profound effect on restoring the kind of legislature our Founding Fathers envisioned of any amendment Cruz and DeSantis could have worked together on. Actually, when democratic lawmakers introduced an amendment to the Constitution relating to campaign contributions and expenditures, Cruz talked all sorts of smack about it, Politifact reported. That would have actually helped eliminate the political elite, but it failed.
People are calling Ted Cruz “bold” and “brave,” but what’s so bold and brave about making sure that people who come into office after you have retired are bound to term limits? Cruz’s amendment was cosponsored by GOP Sens. Deb Fischer (age 65), Ron Johnson (age 61), Thom Tillis (age 56), Marco Rubio (age 45), Mike Lee (age 45), and David Perdue (age 67). What’s so bold and brave about making a law that will hardly affect yourself? Bold and brave would be a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and the Buckley v. Valeo Supreme Court decisions, now.
Washington, D.C., might be a “graveyard of good intentions,” as Sen. Cruz claims, but this term limit amendment that he introduced seems to be completely void of them.
[Featured Image by Cliff Owen/AP Images]