To be effective in reversing the big-government tide, the new GOP majority in the House must exercise the discipline to shake off bad old habits. Where to start? Term limits.
And the term limits can start with leadership.
In 1994, the GOP imposed term limits on committee chairmen. Although there was a little wavering around the edges of that reform, the party did retain it until the Democrats gained the majority in 2008 and promptly chucked the idea of committee chair term limits.
Having regained the majority, some Republicans are mumbling about “granting exceptions” to committee chair limits for this guy and that guy and the other guy. But rampant exceptions to sensible reforms would show that nothing much is changing in how Congress does business. And a lot’s got to change.
Other Republicans, though, are talking about term limits not only for committee chairmen but for all leadership positions. The new Majority Leader-to-be, Eric Cantor, tells The Hill he’d support “a six-year term limit for each position.”
Hear, hear. Bravo!
But let’s shout out loudest for term limits on all members of Congress. Senator Tom Coburn and others have sponsored a constitutional amendment to impose a maximum of two six-year terms in the Senate, three two-year terms in the House. A hard sell to the entrenched incumbent? Sure. Fifteen years ago, a similar effort failed. But like most good failure, it can be built upon.
Let’s start at the top.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.