Term limits alone are not the solution for Congress’ failure to represent the people. Yes, you can apply term limits in a Convention for Proposing Amendments and seek ratification, but this will not squelch the hoard of money tossing lobbyists. They contribute to House and Senate campaigns, hire Representatives and Senators relatives, and donate to political action committees supporting those in Congress.
Money is the big problem and lack of term limits just allows the intake of the free money to be a long-term largess. Yes, term limites are needed, but there is more needed as well.
When the Constitution was ratified the intent was that the House of Representatives would be the people’s house filled with citizen legislators, serving one or two terms. Now the House of Representatives has become a profession. Graduates move on to the Senate or go to work, making big money, for the firms that hired the lobbyists.
The people, us, are no longer represented, unless a very tight election is on the horizon where our vote is desperately needed. Mostly the Voting Rights Act of 1965 took care of needing the people every two years. This law actually created safe seats for Congressman so they could be reelected ad infinitum.
Are you familiar with the law providing a “Requirement that Minority Group Constitute More Than 50% of Voting Population in Single-Member District”? Well check out the “Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview”.
Now we are faced with Congressional Representatives representing Majority-Minority Districts and thus to make these districts we also create majority-majority districts. This gives us safe majority districts, both redistricting methods allow Representatives to serve for twenty, thirty, and even forty years in Congress. Former Michigan Congressman John Dingell served for over fifty years. The average is nine to ten years.
At the ratification of the Constitution, Senators were appointed by their respective state legislatures, thus they were beholden to their legislature and not the people. In 1913, the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution was ratified, now providing for direct election of the Senators by the people. The start of money being thrown at Senators.
The Senate has become a senior retirement club – a legislative senior activity center, if you will. Serving twenty, thirty, forty, or mores years is commonplace. The lifelong vocation of Senator began. With a six year term, there is little attention paid to desires of the voter, but a whole lot of attention paid to the lobbyists and their money. The average Senator not only has a war chest for reelection, but also has reached the millionaire club on a government salary – hum!
A byproduct of the extended service in Congress is that Congressman and Senators not only retire as millionaires, but their relatives do as well. Was this the intent of the founders?
We can solve this abuse of the intent of the founding fathers with a constitutional amendment, assuming we can get the states together to conduct a convention for proposing amendments, under Article V – see Convention of States.
The proposed amendment:
No person shall be elected to House of Representatives more than three times; no person shall be elected to the Senate more than twice. No person having been appointed to the Senate to fill a vacant seat, shall be elected to the Senate more than once.
The source of all a candidate’s campaign committee contributions, financial or services of value, to a House of Representatives candidate shall not be from any source other than a citizen resident of the congressional candidate’s district.
The source of all a candidate’s campaign committee contributions, financial or services of value, to a Senate candidate shall not be from any source other than a citizen resident of the senate candidate’s state.
No independent entity organized to support a candidate or a political cause may advertise on behalf of or publicly support the candidate or cause within sixty days of the beginning of the general election voting process – starting when the first ballot is cast.
For both Senate and House of Hepresentatives races, campaign volunteers, receiving no compensation from any political campaign committee , of any jurisdiction or state, may contribute volunteer time.
Currently serving Representatives and Senators at the time of ratification of this amendment are exempt from this amendment, for one even numbered year Congressional election after ratification.
In addition to this proposed constitutional amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must be revised to accommodate a more open and balanced redistricting process.