WASHINGTON — Two Republican lawmakers are pushing a proposal that would impose term limits on Capitol Hill.
- Rep. Francis Rooney, Sen. Ted Cruz sponsoring the bill
- Limits senators to 2 6-year terms, House members to 3 2-year terms
- Would require a constitutional amendment
Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida's 19th House District, teamed up with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to reintroduce a resolution that would limit senators to two six-year terms, and House members to three two-year terms.
“Public service, not a political class. That was the idea of America and I think we need to get back to that," Rooney said in an interview with Spectrum News.
Currently, terms in both chambers of Congress are unlimited, although there are limits to the number of terms members may serve on committees.
“I’m clearly supporting term limits," said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, who advocated for term limits during his run for U.S. Senate. Now that he has been seated, he wants to honor his word.
“I think the right time for someone to serve in the Senate is two terms, and so that’s my plan," Scott said.
Rooney believes imposing term limits is what the original framers of the Constitution intended.
"We were the country that was founded on not having a political class," he said. "Remember our founders were fleeing monarchies, and huge monarchical bureaucracies, and they resisted that by creating a system they thought would be people coming and doing public service and going back to their farm or business. That’s been degraded.”
“When you have new people, you’re going to have new ideas. Kind of like the tide changing — to use a Florida analogy. I think that’s a healthy thing," he said.
Not everyone in the Florida delegation believes imposing term limits is necessary, like Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat for the 9th District.
“We have term limits. We run every two years and the American people can make a change whenever they want," He said. "But I think the key is, in the most powerful complex nation in the history of the world, we need to have people with experience and we need to give the American people the option to have people with experience.”
There have been a succession of term limit proposals since the 1940’s, but proposing and actually adopting a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a heavy lift. It would need to be approved by two-thirds of both chambers of Congress and then ratified by 38 states, but the challenge has yet to discourage those floating the proposal.
“Some of these really difficult ideas take a long time of gestation," Rooney explained. "We’re advancing the ball, It may not get it to a vote, it may not get it to a hearing, but someday it will.”
The last constitutional amendment that was ratified was 26 years ago, in 1992.