Today, Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits, Nick Tomboulides, stepped into the belly of the beast and reinforced why we need term limits. He testified in support of HJR11, the resolution proposing a constitutional amendment limiting the number of years members of the House may serve to six years (3 terms), and members of the Senate to a 12-year limit (2 terms). Tomboulides appeared before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.
But many careerists on the committee were poised to quash any real discussion of term limits. Their institutional knowledge and protectionism of their own power was obviously a factor as they jockeyed for sound bites in opposition of the issue.
In his testimony, Mr. Tomboulides cited Gallup poll results revealing a staggering lack of confidence Americans have in Congress. Small business topped the list scoring the highest confidence rating of 70%. With only an 8% trust level, Congress was listed at the bottom of the barrel. These findings underscore the urgent need for reform, as 83% of Americans express support for term limits.
Tomboulides opened by answering his own question, “With 83% of Americans wanting term limits, why is it not yet the law of the land? Because the permanent political class thinks the American people are wrong. They think we’re unsophisticated. They don’t respect us, and they think we’re not smart enough to decide this issue.”
Anticipating the argument that term limits are undemocratic and take away choice, Tomboulides argued that 15% of congressional elections every two years are competitive. Over the course of the last 20 years House incumbents have a 94% re-election rate, and in 2022, 100% of Senate incumbents running for office were re-elected.
“This doesn’t happen because people are thrilled with their Congress member. It happens because the ruling elite have rigged the system in favor of incumbents,” he exclaimed.
He continued, “Big money flows to incumbents through the power of PACs, lobbyists, and special interests, with incumbents able to raise up to 10 times more money than challengers. Incumbents have the home field advantage with free media, name recognition, and a government-funded staff performing double duty as a campaign team. Unlike incumbents, challengers “need to raise money the old-fashioned way, from real donors.” Incumbent advantage is undemocratic and takes away choice and leads to voter apathy reaching an all-time high. This is evidenced by elections where the incumbent is not in the race. With open seats, you get real choice, many more candidates enter the race, and more voters engage in elections.
Without the open seat that term limits would create regularly, an increasing number of Americans proclaim, “I don’t feel like my vote matters. I don’t have faith in our elections.”
He concluded by challenging the committee, “This upcoming vote on term limits is a defining moment for our country. The ball is in your court. You get to decide how history will remember you. Will you be remembered as the rich men north of Richmond? Or will you be remembered as the modern-day George Washington? When Washington had the opportunity to become a king, he said no. Because he believed in this country, and he believed in its people.”
It is time for a constitutional amendment for term limits. One hundred and twelve members of the House have signed a pledge to their constituents supporting HJR 11. Each of these representatives have promised that they 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 next step is for the committee to vote on moving HJR11 to move the resolution to a hearing of the entire Judiciary committee, the chair of which is Rep. Jim Jordan who made an opening statement in support of term limits on Congress.
View his House testimony here: