President-elect Donald Trump has mentioned term limits as a way to "drain the swamp" in Congress, but his embrace of that plan could put him at odds with congressional Republicans, according to The New York Times.
Trump's allies might not prefer to call for term limits and restrictions on lawmakers and aides becoming lobbyists. That could limit their tenures and employment opportunities, The Times reports.
The president-elect mentioned term limits during a "60 Minutes" interview after his election, saying, "We're going to put on term limits, which a lot of people aren't happy about, but we're putting on term limits. We're doing a lot of things to clean up the system."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the idea of term limits, saying, "I would say we have term limits now. They're called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate."
Term limits would require a constitutional amendment. Public opinion about the issue would drive its importance to Congress, U.S. Term Limits executive director Nick Tomboulides said, reports The Times.
"The other part of the pressure is going to come from the public. When they know term limits is an issue on the table, they will make it very difficult for Congress to ignore. I think Congress is going to be forced to vote on it," Tomboulides added.
Term limits were addressed in 1994, when Republicans pushed the issue and gained control of the House of Representatives — then failed to pass a measure to make the limits happen.
In March 1995, term limits came up for votes, but did not achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to put forth a constitutional amendment. In 1996, the amendment again did not pass, according to The Times.
Opponents say that longtime legislators provide experience and expertise that newcomers do not. Another criticism holds that elections provide a means to enact limitations, but the Times noted that gerrymandering and incumbency have made defeating incumbents difficult.
Conservatives also are taking issue with House Republicans' moves to restore spending earmarks in their home states.
"It's been barely a week since voters sent a rousing rejection of Washington insider politics, and yet House Republicans are already on the verge of proving they're tone deaf," said former Indiana Congressman David McIntosh, notes The Times.
According to Mic, chances appear poor for term limits to be enacted.
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