[Page H3860]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Washington [Mr. Tate] is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. TATE. Mr. Speaker, it is, indeed, an honor to be able to address 
the House tonight in regards to this issue, because just look back, in 
1990 in the State of Colorado, it caught on like a prairie fire. The 
whole issue of term limits, it came out of a frustration of the 22 
States that have passed term limits. Twenty-one of them came through a 
State initiative. Just one State legislature, the State of Utah, has 
approved that.
  In my particular State in 1991, for example, we gathered signatures 
around the State, over 200,000 signatures, to put a term-limits 
initiative on the ballot, but it was retroactive that year. It was 
  Right after that, the citizens picked that up one more time, and were 
able to put it on the ballot in 1992, and it passed overwhelmingly at 
the State ballot, and last September, I, with my fellow freshmen and 
Republicans alike, we stood on the Capitol steps and signed the 
Contract With America, pledging for the first time in the history of 
the United States that we were going to have term limits come up for a 
vote on the House floor.
  And why do we need term limits? One does not have to look any further 
than 40 long years of Democrat rule. We had a House that was less 
accountable. It seemed that the longer they served, the more removed 
they became. The House banking scandals, House post office scandals, 
runaway spending. We needed true reform, and term limits ends 
  The House of Lords, for example, in Britain, you are appointed 
forever. That is not what the U.S. Congress was designed to be.
  Even with the elections in 1992 and 1994, 9 out of 10 Members were 
reelected, 90 percent.
  In the 103d Congress, for example, the average length of time for a 
committee chairman who had served was 28 years. I am 29. So when I was 
1 year old they were beginning their political career. Things need to 
  Term limits overwhelmingly is supported by the American people. Over 
80 percent of the American people support term limits. It has passed by 
a 2-to-1 margin in every State it has been on the ballot. Other offices 
are term-limited around the country. The President, for example, two 4-
year terms. Thirty-five States limit Governors' terms, even some 
States, like the State of Virginia, limits Governors to one term.
  It also assists in diversity. Seventy-two percent of the women in the 
House of Representatives were elected to open seats. Eighty-one percent 
of the minorities were elected to open seats.
  It is time we make Congress look more like America.
  And what a difference a year and an election makes. Last year the 
Speaker of the House, of this House of Representatives, from my State 
of Washington, sued the citizens of Washington State. This year the 
Speaker of the House limited his own terms to 8 years. We limited the 
chairmen and the ranking minorities to nothing more than 6 years.
  So tomorrow for the first time in the history, let me say that again, 
in the history of the United States, we are going to pass it or bring 
it up for a vote, term limits. We are going to have several proposals. 
We are going to have one proposal very similar to Washington State, 
which is 6 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate.
                              {time}  2030

  Then we have, as we just heard, the Van Hilleary amendment that puts 
a cap of a total of 12 years you can serve in either body but allows 
States to limit, does not preempt State laws. We have a proposal of 12 
years and 12 years.
  But then we also have a retroactive proposal, which was defeated in 
Washington State. I do not like the retroactive taxes that were passed 
in 1993, and I am not going to like a retroactive proposal because it 
is being pushed by people that do not even support term limits. It is a 
sham, and it is a bunch of baloney.
  They are going to hear many arguments against term limits tomorrow, 
that it is somehow going to empower lobbyists. Having served in the 
State legislature, the people most nervous about term limits are the 
lobbyists because they build their reputations on getting to know 
Members of Congress. So there is lots of changes that need to occur, 
and you are going to hear lots of arguments, but we will deliver our 
vote as we promised tomorrow for the first time in history.
  And 80 percent of the Republicans are going to vote for it, maybe 
even more. What we need is at least 50 percent of the Democrats to make 
this happen. It takes 290 votes, as we all know, to pass a 
constitutional amendment. We only have 230 Republicans. If every single 
Republican votes for this, we still need 60 Democrats. So if it fails, 
which I believe it will not, but if it fails, the defeat will be on the 
hands of the Democrats, and the public will hold us all accountable, 
especially those that have voted no.
  So I urge my colleagues tomorrow to support term limits and return 
the power back to the people.