Term Limits

Will a recent setback derail the term-limit movement?


Setting term limits for Members of Congress has long been talked about, but proposals drew little attention. In the last three years, however, a national term-limit movement has suddenly grown up, building on Americans' longstanding distrust of professional politicians and recent complaints of abuses by members of Congress. But term limits face a seemingly insurmountable obstacle: Congress itself, which is unlikely to approve a constitutional amendment restricting congressional tenure. To circumvent Congress, term-limit supporters are trying a legally uncertain strategy: initiatives to limit terms of congressional delegations in individual states. Colorado voters approved a 12-year limit in 1990, but Washington state rejected a more stringent measure in November. Now, efforts are under way to place initiatives on the ballot in at least a dozen states.

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