It is reported that more than 11,000 amendments to the US Constitution
have been introduced to Congress and only 27 have been adopted. Clearly, changing the law of the land established by our forefathers is no easy
task. The last Constitutional Amendment was ratified in 1992, limiting Congressional pay raises. Now 20 years later, another amendment is languishing in the hallowed halls of Congress that, if ratified, would
further limit the seemingly endless powers of the elected members
of the House and Senate in Washington, DC.
It's time for term limits!
The proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (House Joint Resolution 12 and Senate Joint Resolution 3), was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R) Texas and Representative Ralph Norman (R) South Carolina, to limit the number of terms that a member of Congress may serve; Representatives would be capped at (3) two-year terms and Senators capped at (2) six-year terms.
Ratifying the proposed 28th Amendment makes way for a new generation of leaders and progressive ideas that will breathe life back into our ailing democracy.
It is reasonable to ask, however, why would principled members of Congress cosponsor and vote for the term limits resolution if it meant they would have to leave office perhaps at their very next election? Why would they vote themselves out of a job with so many fringe benefits?
The 28th Amendment includes an important section to ‘grandfather in’ current members of Congress. The relevant text in Senator Ted Cruz's and Representative Ralph Norman's term limits resolution reads,
"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."
This language is based on historical constitutional precedents in the 17th and 22nd Amendments, which proved essential to majority approval. The 17th, which changed senators from being appointed by the states to being elected, included similar language:
“This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.”
The 22nd Amendment limited the president to serving no more than two terms, but exempted the incumbent president:
“But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.”
The exemptions that ‘grandfathered in’ sitting senators and presidents were important in gaining the votes for ratification. The same holds true for Section 3 of the proposed 28th Amendment.