On Thursday, former United States presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz and fellow Republican Representative Francis Rooney proposed to set lifetime limits for service in the Senate and House through amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. It was co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, and David Perdue of Georgia, all Republicans.
Under current U.S. constitutional law, the president is limited to two terms of service but senators and representatives may serve for as many terms as their constituents wish to re-elect them. Under this proposal, senators would be limited to two terms and representatives to three.
Cruz, in remarks to ABC, said, “For too long, members of Congress have abused their power and ignored the will of the American people[…] Term limits on members of Congress offer a solution to the brokenness we see in Washington, D.C. It is long past time for Congress to hold itself accountable. I urge my colleagues to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification.”
If passed without measures specifically stipulating otherwise, this would limit Cruz himself to his current term.
Both President Trump and some Democrats, such as former Representative Beto O’Rourke, have expressed favorable interest in Congressional term limits in the past.
In order for this proposal to become a constitutional amendment, both houses of the U.S. Congress would have to pass it by two-thirds majority, and then it would have to be ratified by at least three quarters of the country’s 50 state legislatures.
The U.S. Constitution originally did not limit the number of presidential terms, but there was a longstanding tradition of not seeking a third term after the country’s first president, George Washington, sought no third term. Only President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led the country during the Second World War, served more than two. The 22nd amendment establishing a legal limit on presidential terms was passed in 1947.