SUPPORT THE HILLEARY TERM-LIMITS PROPOSAL; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 57
(House of Representatives - March 28, 1995)

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[Pages H3859-H3860]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Hilleary] is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HILLEARY. Mr. Speaker, I guess it has been about a month ago now 
that some fellow freshmen and I got involved in this term-limits debate 
to the extent we are now. People here may remember that the House 
Committee on the Judiciary reported out a bill that in my opinion, did 
not really resemble real term limits. It said you could serve 12 years, 
lay out a couple years, serve 12 more years, lay out a couple more 
years, serve 12 more, et cetera.
  It also specifically had language that preempted the work that people 
had done in 22 States that had their own term-limits laws. I felt I 
could not keep my pledge to my constituents that I made during the 
campaign that I would truly be for real term limits.
  So I got involved with some of my fellow freshmen. We came up with a 
bill, drafted a bill, that simply did this: It said you could serve 12 
years in the House, 12 years in the Senate, but also it had the 
additional language that said the States would be specifically 
protected in the work they did and the wishes of those people in those 
22 States would be protected. I think that is very important.
  And people like the gentlewoman from North Carolina [Mrs. Myrick], 
the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. McIntosh], the gentleman from 
Washington [Mr. Nethercutt], the gentleman from Arizona [Mr. Salmon], 
the gentleman from Kansas [Mr. Brownback], the gentleman from Florida 
[Mr. Goss], the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Graham], who just 
spoke, the gentleman from Arkansas [Mr. Hutchinson], the gentleman from 
Georgia [Mr. Kingston], the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Tate], and 
many, many others have worked very hard and feel the same way on this.
  It is very important to people like Bill Anderson, who lives in Texas 
County, MO. Mr. Anderson is not a Republican or a Democrat. I do not 
think he is a liberal or conservative. He is simply a man who has never 
been involved in politics before. He is simply a man who felt very 
strongly this country was going in absolutely the wrong direction. He 
felt he had to do something about it. He got out in parking lots in hot 
summer days, got thousands of signatures on petitions, got in Missouri 
this issue put on a referendum for a vote, and it passed.
  There are a lot of Bill Andersons all over this country whose hard 
work and wishes and rights of him and his fellow, people who helped 
him, will simply be washed away if we do not specifically protect those 
  There is no other bill that we are going to vote on that will 
specifically give that protection. There are some that are silent. What 
that means is that nine black-robed men and women who work in a 
building very close to us here who are unelected, permanently tenured 
will decide this issue, not people who are elected representatives like 
our colleagues and myself.
  I think it is important that we vote on the Hilleary amendment. We 
have had so much support from the grassroots. Every grassroots 
organization that you can think of is behind our bill that has anything 
to do with term limits: United We Stand America, American National 
Taxpayers' Union, American Conservative Union, Citizens Against 
Government Waste and on and on.
  The reason they think this one is the bill is because it gives the 
most for the most people. It is a sort of middle-of-the-road bill. It 
has 12 and 12 for people who believe that you ought to be able to serve 
12 years, but also says States can do something less if they so choose. 
It also kind of protects what I think is the most democratic form of 
legislative process in this country, that is, the referendum process 
such as in the State of California. It is almost part of the mystique 
of California. It is part of the legend of California that they have 
this referendum process. It is very famous.
  All the propositions that have become so famous all across the 
country, and this is the only bill for the Members of those States that 
have the referendum process. It is the only bill that will specifically 
protect the wishes of the voters in those States.
  So I ask everybody to come on board and support the Hilleary 
amendment. But no matter which bill comes to final passage, I think 
term limits, the concept of term limits, must supersede everything 
else, and I beg my fellow Members on final passage to vote for term 
  Let me tell you, people say that this concept of term limits has no 
chance in this Congress. I do not know if I am willing to concede that 
yet. You know, our former Speaker felt pretty strongly about being 
against term limits. He is no longer with us. I think this is the first 
time, because this is the first time we are going to be able to take 
these little cards, stick them in the slot, and a recorded vote, the 
first time the people are going to have to actually go on record and 
think long and hard about are they going to face the voters in 1996 
without a yes vote on term limits.
  I think we have not seen how many votes we are going to get on this. 
[[Page H3860]] think it is building every day. I think my colleagues 
would with that.
  Finally, I would just say there are a lot of people who have come 
before me on this term-limits concept. I have been here for the grand 
total of about 3 months, and people like the gentleman from Florida 
[Mr. McCollum], and the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Inglis], the 
gentlewoman from Florida [Mrs. Fowler], who is not even going to get to 
vote on her bill tomorrow, have moved this bill way far down the field 
way before I got here. They deserve an awful lot of credit.
  To the extent we have success tomorrow, my hat is off to them.
  The final thing I would like to say is this, that
   no matter if we get 290 or not, tomorrow should be scored as a 
victory for the Republican Party. We are going to bring this to the 
floor for the first time for a recorded vote. It has never happened. If 
you compare our Speaker with the Speaker last year and how our support 
has been, I think people must say we have taken a great first step and 
a great first downpayment on this issue of term limits. It will come 
back, and the people will speak in 1996.