term limits

House adopts resolution calling for convention on congressional term limits

Rep. Chris Todd (R-Jackson) makes the motion to close all House Republican Caucus meetings to the public and the press on Nov. 24, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The state House has voted 53-34 to join a call for a national constitutional convention to set term limits for members of Congress. While the margin appears lopsided, the measure sponsored by Rep. Chris Todd (R-Jackson) received only three more votes than the minimum needed to clear the chamber. The resolution now heads for the consideration in the Senate.

Tennessee’s congressional delegation has seen some turnover in recent years. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Winchester and Chuck Fleischmann pf Chattanooga have the longest tenures among Republicans as they are in their sixth terms. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis) is in this third term, while Reps. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville), Mark Green (R-Ashland City), and John Rose (R-Cookeville) are in their second. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Kingsport) is a freshman.

Among Democrats, Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville is in his 10th term and Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis is in his eighth.

Here’s a release from the group U.S. Term Limits lauding Thursday’s floor vote:

Nashville, TN — Today, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed HJR8, a resolution declaring that the state legislature seeks to join other states in proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish term limits on Congress. The bipartisan vote was 53 yeas – 34 nays, overwhelmingly in favor of passage. The effort, sponsored by state Rep. Chris Todd, is being spearheaded by the nonpartisan, grassroots nonprofit, U.S. Term Limits.

Rep. Chris Todd said, “Now, more than ever we see the need for limiting the terms of the U.S. Congress. You would be hard-pressed to adequately defend the loss of new ideas and vision we all observe and the potential corruption that comes with being a career politician in Congress.”

According to a recent RMG Research poll, 78% of likely voters in Tennessee support term limits on Congress, including strong support among Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike.
U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel commended the Tennessee House of Representatives saying, “The people of Tennessee are lucky to have public servants who see what is going on in D.C. and are willing to take action to fix it. They know that Congress won’t set term limits on itself. Therefore, it is the obligation of the states to do so.”

Once the senate passes the sister resolution, Tennessee will join other states in the call for a convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing term limits on the U.S. Congress. Thirty-four state legislatures must pass similar resolutions on the topic and approve the term limits amendment before it goes to the states for ratification.

Sethi, Hagerty support congressional term limits

U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi has signed a pledge to support term limits in Congress, joining rival Republican Bill Hagerty in backing the effort to allow senators no more than two six-year terms and hold representatives to three consecutive two-year terms.

A proposed constitutional amendment has been introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was scheduled to campaigning with Sethi in West Tennessee on Monday.

Both candidates have also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

Here’s a release from U.S. Term Limits Monday about Sethi’s pledge:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Term Limits (USTL), the leader in the non-partisan national movement to limit the terms of elected officials, praises 2020 U.S. Senate candidate from Tennessee, Manny Sethi, for signing the pledge for an amendment to term limit Congress.

U.S. Term Limits has the support of more than 70 pledge signers in Congress. USTL President Philip Blumel commented on Sethi’s pledge saying, “Manny’s strong support of term limits shows that there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians.”

The U.S. Term Limits amendment pledge is provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads, “I pledge that as a member of Congress, I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.”The U.S. Term Limits constitutional amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz (SJR1) and the U.S. House by Representative Francis Rooney (HJR20).

Blumel noted, “We have seen a dramatic increase in supporters wanting term limits on Congress. More than 82% of Americans have rejected the career politician model and want to replace it with citizen leadership. The way to achieve that goal is through congressional term limits.”

According to a 2018 nationwide poll on term limits conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, term limits enjoy wide bipartisan support. McLaughlin’s analysis states, “Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 82% of voters approve of a constitutional amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress.”

Blumel concluded, “America is in trouble. Our career politicians have let the people down. It is time to return control of our nation to the people. It is time for a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms.”

The term limits amendment resolutions would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, and ratification by 38 states, in order to become part of the U.S. Constitution.

Congressional term limits is the one bipartisan issue supported by both President Trump and former President Obama.