Congress Needs Term Limits

Whenever I give visitors from El Paso a tour of the Capitol, I like to show them this painting of General Washington resigning his commission before the Continental Congress. In stepping aside at a moment when he could have made a strong case to lead the military and the new country for life, General Washington affirmed the idea that there are limits on personal power in this country; that no single leader — no matter their gifts or accomplishments — is indispensable.

I believe that principle should be enshrined in our Constitution. And that’s why today, I joined with colleagues from both parties to introduce legislation that would set term limits for members of Congress, preventing anyone from serving more than 12 years in either the House or Senate.

As the Co-Chair of the House Term Limits Caucus, I introduced similar legislation to impose term limits back in 2013 and have tried to set an example by submitting to them myself. I’m encouraged by the growing recognition that term limits would go a long way toward curing some of the ills that we see in Congress.

People in Texas and across the country recognize that members of Congress often focus on re-election at the expense of addressing the challenges our country faces. We see that the longer you serve in Congress, the less connected, the less responsive, the less accountable you can become to the people you represent. And we recognize that imposing term limits on members of Congress — along with getting PAC money out of our politics and putting an end to gerrymandering — will help breathe new life and new ideas into our democracy.

If we truly have faith in those we serve — if we want our government to reflect the diversity and strength and creativity of our communities — then let’s help clear the way for new leaders to step up and bring their unique experiences, expertise, and energy to bear on the problems and opportunities before us.