Debate of the Month

Resolved, Congressional term limits should be enacted.

Some members of Congress have remained in their seats for decades–some north of forty years. From this came the pejorative “career politician,” of which is commonly associated with Washington ineptitude and corruption. Many feel that the proliferation of political dishonesty may be mitigated by the installation of Congressional term limits. This would force politicians to shift their focus from garnering support from special interests and organizing their next campaign to crafting policy and cooperating with other legislators; they would be more motivated to change the status quo. Additionally, placing restrictions on how long a politician may be in office will result in the constant renewal of fresh ideas in touch with the modern constituency. However, opponents argue that Congressional term limits prevent politicians from becoming learning the legislative profession. Without enough experience, lawmakers would not be able to pass bills as effectively or prevent legislation with severe unintended consequences. They would also be less likely to develop expertise in a certain area and carry out tangible change. Term limits would also take away the power of the voter; Congress members would not be in office for many terms if their constituents did not choose to elect them each election cycle. Ultimately, would Congressional term limits be an asset to American democracy? Or would they prove to be an unnecessary barrier to creating a skillful legislative branch?

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