TERM LIMITS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 58
(House of Representatives - March 29, 1995)

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[Pages H3915-H3930]
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  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Barrett of Nebraska). Pursuant to House 
Resolution 116 and rule XXIII, the Chair declares the House in the 
Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further 
consideration of the joint resolution, House Joint Resolution 73.

                              {time}  1453

                     in the committee of the whole

  Accordingly the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole 
House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the 
joint resolution (H.J. Res. 73) proposing an amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States with respect to the number of terms 
of office of Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, 
with Mr. Klug in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
  The CHAIRMAN. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, the 
following time remained in general debate:
  The gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Conyers] had 9\1/2\ minutes, the 
gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Shays] also had 9\1/2\ minutes, and the 
gentleman from Florida [Mr. Canady] had 28 minutes remaining.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Hilleary].
  (Mr. HILLEARY asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. HILLEARY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of term limits 
  Members of the House will have the opportunity to vote on several 
versions of term limits. We all have our differences as to the one 
which we prefer. But in the end, Members will have a chance to stand up 
and have their voice counted, for the first time ever, either for or 
against term limits.
  This will be an historic opportunity for this country to return to 
the citizen legislature envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
  I am proud to be a part of this energetic class of freshman Members 
and I am proud of the bill we have crafted. Over the past several weeks 
we have helped pass legislation to make historic change in the way the 
rest of the Government works.
  Today we are going to vote on helping make historical change to the 
way this institution works.
  We have the opportunity to give back power to the people.
  We have the opportunity to end the era of the career politician.
  We might not achieve that goal today, but this is the first vote ever 
on term limits and it should be considered a win for the people no 
matter what happens.
  If we garner the 290 votes we need, then we are going to send this 
bill over to the Senate with an incredible amount of momentum. If we 
fall short, we have still made a huge down payment on the concept of 
term limits.
  I say this sadly, but I believe that those that vote against term 
limits may have themselves in peril the next time they stand for 
reelection. Their constituents may decide not to send them back. I say 
this with sadness because I have nothing but respect for the folks, men 
and women, who have labored here for many years in service to their 
country. But with all due respect, I firmly believe that none of us are 
irreplaceable and as proud as I am of our freshman class, none of us 
need to be here for the next 20 or 30 years.
  Let's support the wishes of the citizens of this country by passing 
term limits today. Regardless of what emerges from the Committee of the 
Whole, let's support term limits on final passage.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Fox].
  (Mr. FOX of Pennsylvania asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. FOX of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, term limits is an idea whose 
time has arrived. The people of the United States have said in record 
numbers, over 80 percent, that they want term limits. It may be the 
most popular item that we have in the Contract With America. If we vote 
today for any of these various proposals, such as the 6-year Inglis 
bill, the 12-year McCollum bill or the Hilleary States rights 
legislation, we will set in motion a chance for the people to decide.
  The first step is the passage here in the U.S. House. The second step 
would be the passage in the U.S. Senate. The third step would be 38 
States to adopt. California has already shown us that with issue and 
referendum, how fair it is to involve each of the citizens in the 
direct process of deciding the issues that affect their lives. This 
legislation before us will again give power to the people to decide 
just how long the terms in office should be.
  With term limits, we bring to the Congress an infusion of new ideas, 
new enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective. By passing term limits, more 
people will have the chance to personally contribute their individual 
talent, their energies to the representative process. We have already 
seen how the public is looking to us to in fact come through with the 
promises from the Contract With America.
  We have already seen the adoption of the Shays act, the 
accountability law, the balanced budget amendment, the line-item veto, 
the prohibition of unfunded mandates, legal reform, and now we are here 
on term limits. It is the responsibility for each Member of the House 
to decide which bill best fits their district or their view of how the 
United States should look at term limits. But in any event, term limits 
is certainly what the people in great vast numbers want across the 
United States.
  It is our job tonight to vote in favor of those legislative items.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Wisconsin [Mr. Roth].
  Mr. ROTH. I thank my friend the gentleman for yielding me the time.
  Mr. Chairman, I am going to be voting for term limits today, but that 
does not mean I am in favor of term limits. The reason I am voting for 
term limits is because we have a Contract With America and I signed the 
contract. I do not want to renege on my word.
  Last November 8, the American people voted and we had wholesale 
change in the House of Representatives. If I have to go in for open 
heart surgery, I don't want a man or woman just out of medical school, 
I want someone who has been there for awhile and knows what they are 
doing. But I did sign the Contract With America last September, and I 
told the people that I would vote for term limits, and that is why I 
feel honor bound and duty bound to vote for term limits.
  I did survey the people of my district. In fact, I asked all the 
questions, all 10, on the Contract With America. It might be 
interesting that on term limits, we had some 15,534 people respond, 
5,929 for, 9,605 against. So 61 percent of the people were against term 

                              {time}  1500

  Basically what I asked was whether they want a 6-year term or 12-year 
term, or neither. People should be able to vote whomever they want in 
the ballot box and 61 percent of the people did pick the third one.
  In 1787 after our forefathers crafted a constitution at the 
Convention, it was not ratified immediately, it went to the States and 
there was a debate. And I feel that is what we are going to be doing 
with this amendment. We are going to be sending it to the States and 
let us have a debate, a national debate, and that probably it can lead 
to a national catharsis. We can debate this issue and allow the people 
to have an ultimate say and that is why I think this particular 
amendment is important. I think the people should have a say throughout 
the land.
  [[Page H3916]] So, for that reason I think it is important that we 
pass it. But I do feel that term limits should be extended to the 
bureaucracy too. Otherwise the bureaucracy is going to be much stronger 
or the Supreme Court.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ROTH. I am happy to yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the 
gentleman's intellectual honesty, but my understanding of the contract 
was the contract simply called for this to be brought to the floor.
  Mr. ROTH. I take back the balance of my time because I have only 30 
seconds. That might be true, but I feel I signed the contract. I am 
talking for myself, I am not talking for others. I did sign the 
contract and I feel that I am honor bound to vote for term limits. But 
my heart is not in it because I do not think it is the right thing. But 
I do say let us send it to the States, let the American people debate 
it and then we can still have a round with it.
  I thank the gentleman from Connecticut for yielding me the time.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Coleman].
  (Mr. COLEMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. COLEMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Chairman, we were lectured a little while ago by the gentleman 
from Michigan who told us about when he was a businessman, and we do 
not know what we are doing when we are inside the beltway, and I guess 
that may be right about some folks.
  But what is interesting to me is that he has indeed been a part of 
House Resolution 73, and the other substitutes before us, and we have a 
policy prescription that has no bearing in any of those substitutes, 
any of them, not a one in reality other than the Peterson-Dingell 
substitute. And the reason it has no bearing on reality is because it 
does not touch any one of us. Shame on all of you for telling the 
American people, ``Oh, this is term limits; it is going to affect us.'' 
It is not going to do any such thing.
  The gentleman from North Carolina pointed out that it would take a 
number of years to pass a constitutional amendment. You are going to 
start by giving yourself a 12-year term, are you not? Is that not what 
the resolution says? Is that not what you put in the contract? Plus 7 
years probably to get it enacted by the States makes it 19 years. Even 
freshman Members who are assured of long terms as career politicians 
know it is going to take that long before it takes effect.
  I do not think that is what the voters had in mind when they urged 
some in Congress to support term limits. I believe the voters who 
support term limits want to see the effects of the amendment as soon as 
  I expect to see all of the proponents of term limits leap at the 
opportunity to vote for the Peterson-Dingell substitute, because that 
makes it real. It makes it take place now, not in some 19 years.
  So I expect to see a lot of people voting for that who do not plan on 
it because otherwise you are going to be--I am not going to use the 
term or I may get my words taken down--maybe not being totally candid 
with the voters who sent you here.
  I would just suggest that those of us who oppose them, I do not think 
a lot of us Members believe very strongly that what needs to happen is 
our voting constituency does not know what it is doing. A lot of us 
think they do. We know that their terms are up. Of course, after they 
are passed, only we know that the people who know their terms are up, 
regardless of how meritoriously they serve, will hear the voice of the 
lobbyists growing greater in their ears, while the voices of the voters 
will become faint.
  I urge Members to vote against term limits as a quick fix for what is 
wrong in America.
  I rise today against all term-limit constitutional amendments 
including the Peterson/Dingell substitute. While the substitute takes 
the important step of making term limits retroactive, and it injects a 
vital dose of reality into this week's term-limits debate, it still 
limits the prerogative of the American people. We have all been talking 
about the effects of term limits on American democracy as if we are 
dealing with an abstract, academic concept. An in truth, under the 
terms of House Joint Resolution 73 and the other substitutes before us, 
we have indeed shaped the notion of term limits into a policy 
prescription that has no bearing on reality, because it will not touch 
any of us.
  The resolution at hand will have a 7-year allotment for ratification. 
After that period, the 12-year clock will start ticking. This means 
that the term-limits amendment will not affect a single Member of this 
body for 19 years. Even freshmen Members are assured long terms as 
career politicians before the amendment takes effect.
  I do not believe this is what the voters have in mind when they urge 
some in Congress to support term limits. I believe that voters who 
support term limits want to see the effects of this amendment as soon 
as possible. If they cannot support retroactive term limits because 
they are fearful of the possible effects on their Representatives and 
Senators, then perhaps they will focus upon the true repercussions of a 
term-limits amendment. The same applies to all of us. If we cannot 
support the outcome of a term-limits amendment that impacts upon us 
directly, then we have no right to impose similar restrictions upon 
future generations.
  What will those effects be? Term limits will certainly decrease the 
power of the Congress. They will ensure that experienced Members cannot 
serve within the legislative branch. Unelected congressional staff 
members will thrive in an environment where they are more seasoned and 
more powerful than elected officials. Consequently, voters' input into 
the policymaking process will decline. Even more frightening is the 
prospect that lobbyists will in many cases exercise disproportionate 
powers over legislators with limited terms. Some Members may be quite 
willing to ignore their voting constituency if they know that their 
terms are up regardless of how meritoriously they serve. For such 
Members, the lure of the lobbyist will be great, and the voice of the 
voter will grow even fainter.
  But term limits circumscribe democracy in an even more insidious way. 
They allow today's dissatisfied voters to dictate to future voters in 
all districts for whom they can and cannot vote. Under current law, 
voters dissatisfied with a Member's performance can vote that Member 
out. Those who are satisfied can vote to retain their Member. Under a 
term-limits amendment, satisfied voters will be restricted from 
reelecting their Member as a result of the current discontent of voters 
in some other districts. Right now, every voter has the power to limit 
terms with the passing of each election cycle. The term-limits
 amendment places new and unnecessary restrictions upon this tremendous 
power. If you truly believe that this is the way democracy works, you 
should let it start working now and support the Dingell substitute.

  It is strange that congressional experience is automatically equated 
with being out of touch. Clearly, the Members of the Republican 
leadership seem to believe that they are still in touch with the voters 
in spite of the fact that their terms far exceed 12 years. Hence the 
notorious Contract With America. Why should they be allowed to assume 
that they are unique? If they truly believe that lengthy terms put 
Members out of touch, then let them support this substitute. If they do 
not believe it, then they should oppose a term-limits amendment 
altogether as I am doing.
  There are those who argue that the supporters of the Peterson-Dingell 
substitute are those who oppose term limits, and therefore are backing 
a substitute that will not pass. This is simply not true. After all, if 
any Member is a genuine supporter of the principles of term limits, he 
or she will leap at the opportunity to impose them as quickly as 
possible. Those Members who do not have the conviction to vote for this 
substitute are merely masquerading as term-limits supporters. Those of 
us who have opposed term limits in the past support this substitute 
because we believe that we should all face the consequences of our 
vote. If we are willing to impose the restrictions of term limits on 
future Representatives and Senators, we should show our willingness to 
face these problems ourselves. If term limits prove to be a poor policy 
alternative, those who support it should be willing to deal with the 
consequences. If they are effective, then we should all reap the 
benefits as soon as possible.
  The Peterson-Dingell substitute is important because it exposes the 
real views of term-limit supporters surrounding this debate. Anyone who 
votes against this substitute is voting to maintain the current system 
for another 19 years. No such Member can be considered a real supporter 
of term limits. Anyone who ran on a promise of enacting term limits--
and this encompasses almost the entire Republican side of the aisle--
must vote in favor of the Peterson-Dingell substitute. A vote against 
this substitute is effectively a vote against term limits. And if term 
limits aren't good enough for 
 [[Page H3917]] you, why should you have the right to impose these 
restrictions upon future representatives?
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Oklahoma [Mr. Istook].
  Mr. ISTOOK. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of enacting uniform national term 
limits on all Members of Congress, the House and the Senate. This 
country was founded by those who set aside, for so long as was 
necessary, their individual businesses and pursuits, but never 
intending to become a professional political class. They brought with 
them the variety of strengths, background, and insights which can only 
be gained from interaction with fellow citizens on a normal, everyday 
  Since then our country has grown large and Government has grown even 
larger. It has created a system whereby too many people in politics 
know no other way to make a living. And too often they are isolated and 
unfamiliar with normal and everyday life.
  This is not healthy for America. It is especially fascinating to read 
studies which show the longer somebody serves in Congress, the more 
they tend to vote for big government, and bigger taxes, and to oppose 
cutting spending and cutting the size of government. The system has 
become a narcotic for too many people.
  Many States, including my own, have voted to limit the terms of their 
own Congressmen and Senators. They did so with the hope and expectation 
that this would create momentum to adopt term limits on a national 
level, to treat all States equally. Now we have the chance to adopt 
those term limits.
  Although many may think it of themselves, nobody in this Congress is 
indispensable. We have term limits on Presidents, on Governors, on 
State legislators, even on city council members and others elected to 
public office. Congress needs to listen to the people and adopt uniform 
national term limits.
  I urge support and final passage of the measure.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Graham].
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
  During the campaign I ran on four reform issues. I am the first 
Republican to get elected in 120 years in my district, and there are 
four things I talked about.
  I want a balanced budget amendment so no party can spend beyond their 
limits. I do not trust Democrats or Republicans enough to come up here 
and spend responsibly. I want a line item veto to be able to strike out 
pork barrel projects from what we do here and make sure we do not spend 
each month getting reelected. I ran on the concept every law in America 
should apply to Members of this body, Republican or Democrat, so you 
know what it is like to live in America, not just Washington, DC.
  And the fourth thing, I ran on term limits to make sure you come up 
here with a different motivation and your whole purpose of being here 
is not to get reelected and see how far you can go.
  I support the Peterson-Dingell legislation for 12 years. I have been 
here almost 100 days and I find myself wanting to go vote for the 6-
year version. I am going to vote for the Frank amendment. I may not 
believe in it, but I do if it takes retroactive term limits to get this 
place cleaned up. I am going to vote for it. I am going to vote for all 
four versions.
  If we want to change America we need to send people up here with a 
different motivation for serving and it is not going to happen until we 
have term limits on this body.
  I think I know why 80 percent of the American public wants term 
limits. I do not believe 80 percent of the people in here really 
understand that.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Roemer].
  (Mr. ROEMER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. ROEMER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
  Mr. Chairman, Thomas Jefferson said that the price of democracy is 
eternal vigilance, and what he meant by that I think is there is a 
price for democracy. There is a price sometimes of people going to war 
and not coming back. There is a price of people going out and 
registering voters, and there is a price of being eternally vigilant. 
That means keeping up to date on where your Representatives and your 
Senators and your mayors stand on issues, and when you agree with those 
people that you go and you work and you vote for them. And when you 
disagree with those people, you get off your couch and out of your 
living room and you go to vote for change.
  In the last three elections we have seen monumental change sweep 
across this country, 50 percent of the Members elected since my class 
in 1990 are now new; 50 percent of the U.S. Congress has turned over 
since 1990.
  There is a study done by Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard and he called 
it ``Bowling Alone.'' He said recently while bowling membership is up 
in the United States, people are bowling by themselves, Lions Club 
membership is down, voting is down, Little League is down.
  We do not want him doing a study in 20 years saying nobody is voting. 
We want people to get out there and vote and not fix our country's 
problems by gimmicks and bumper stockers and quick fixes.
  I proudly have hung a picture in my congressional office. It is a 
picture of the Capitol and it is a quote by Alexander Hamilton, and it 
says: ``Here, sir, the people govern,'' the people govern this great 
Nation, and let us not take the power of the ballot box away from the 
people of this country.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Nebraska [Mr. Barrett].
  (Mr. BARRETT of Nebraska asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. BARRETT of Nebraska. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding me this time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of limiting service in both the House 
and Senate to 12 years.
  I am proud that House Republicans have fulfilled yet another promise 
in the Contract With America, by bringing--and I stress bringing--
before the American public a fair debate about limiting congressional 
  Our contract did not guarantee passage of every item. Whether term 
limits pass tomorrow or not, this debate is a tribute to the Republican 
leadership, including Mr. McCollum, and it is a check mark in the 
success column. I hope the media gets that straight.
  I am of the opinion that, as provided by our Founding Fathers, 
Members of Congress already serve limited terms--2 years in the House 
and 6 in the Senate--and that they can be dismissed by the voters at 
the end of those terms.
  The 104th Congress is evidence of those existing limits; 52 percent 
of the House is serving only their third term or less.
  But the voters are not happy with this result, and in response, we 
are here debating further limiting congressional service.
  Understandably, voters are frustrated and dissatisfied with the 
performance of Congress--legislative gridlock, scandals of recent 
years, and the size and cost of Government are sample reason to earn 
the voters disdain.
  We have also done our part to foster their contempt by our increasing 
tendency to legislate for the sound bite.
  Nebraska is one of the 22 States that have voted to impose term 
limits on its congressional delegation. The issue was on the ballot in 
both 1992 and 1994, and my constituents knew both times that, while I 
would support certain term limits, I opposed the Nebraska ballot 
initiatives. My votes today and tomorrow will be fully consistent with 
that position.
  I can realistically look at this point in my life, and service in the 
House, and say that should additional term limits be imposed, they'll 
not have an impact on me. So it's with no self-interest or self-
preservation in mind that I say that there are serious drawbacks to 
term limits.
  But I will vote to respect the will of the American people, who have 
given strong indication, that additional term limits is their desire. I 
will also exercise my personal judgment for the 
 [[Page H3918]] country, however, that anything less than 12 years is 
unrealistic, and the same limits must be imposed on both House Members 
and Senators from all 50 States.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for the McCollum 12-year 
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Maryland [Mr. Bartlett].
  (Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding time to me.
  Mr. Chairman, I just want to make just one simple point. Some 80 
percent of all of our constituents favor term limits. This is 
nonpartisan. It goes across party line, age, sex, and color; broad 
support for term limits. We need to respect the wishes of our 
constituents, and vote today for term limits and send this to the 
States. There the dialogue will continue in the State legislatures.
                              {time}  1515

  There will be ample opportunity to debate, and ultimately the will of 
an even more enlightened electorate will prevail.
  Term limits is not a new idea. We have term limits for our 
Presidents. For those who are so vociferously opposing these term 
limits, they ought to be equally adamant in looking for another 
constitutional amendment to remove term limits for the President. They 
are not doing that.
  We need to respect the will of these 80 percent of all of our 
constituents, and today vote to send this to the State legislatures 
where the dialog can continue.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from New York [Mr. Houghton].
  Mr. HOUGHTON. Mr. Chairman, there is not much time. I want to get to 
the point.
  And the point is that I believe in the concept of term limits, and I 
believe in the McCollum amendment.
  Let me tell you why. I understand the arguments of brilliant orators 
like the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] and others who feel very 
strongly about this issue. I understand there will be an overreliance 
on staff. People will not be able to understand the trends and how to 
get around here. There will be an absence of understanding of the 
silent language that takes place in every profession.
  Let me tell you something, that I come from an area of business, and 
the CEO's of companies do not stay very long. College presidents do not 
stay very long. There is a concept now, because of the pressure of 
things, they must turn over and change and give it to new and different 
people. Furthermore, if I as a businessman or I as a doctor or a farmer 
or a college professor or whatever want to get in, I must be able to 
plan, because right in the middle of my career I am not sure when that 
person will get out.
  It is a good idea. Let us support it. Its time has come.
  Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from 
Kansas [Mr. Roberts], the distinguished chairman of the Committee on 
Agriculture, who is represented by two Senators who, if this resolution 
were to pass and would be in full operation, would not be allowed to 
serve, Mr. Dole and Mrs. Kassebaum.
  (Mr. ROBERTS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. ROBERTS. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to term limits. I think with an 
issue as important as this, one Member's warning flag in regards to the 
law of unintended consequences is another's banner of reform.
  I know that each Member's conviction is such that everybody becomes 
an author of the best approach. I do appreciate that.
  I associate myself with the eloquent and persuasive remarks of the 
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde]. I am for the term limit, as has 
been said that was put in by the Founding Fathers, a 2-year limit. It 
is called an election. If you utilize your constitutional voting 
rights, the voters can, has, will, continue to throw the rascals out--
if they so choose.
  What term limits basically say is that for the sake of change the 
voters should be denied the right to keep their elected 
Representative--if they so choose.
  I am going to skip past all the pros and cons that have been highly 
featured in this debate and get to the basic point. The basic point is 
this: If this House of Representatives is in crisis to the extent that 
we deny the voters the right to reelect their representatives after six 
terms, then it follows the people responsible for this sorry state of 
affairs must be those Members who have served here over six terms. And, 
as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid said, ``Who are these guys?''
  Well, for one thing, after the briars and brambles of past scandals 
and resulting reform and the vote for change in the last election, 
there are not near as many as there were before. Over half of the 
Congress is new since 1990.
  If you want to limit terms to 12 years, you better think about it. 
The average term of service is now 10. Less than one-third of the House 
has served more than six terms. What we have here is a mandate for term 
limits, but not for current Members. We have a terminal illness that is 
abound and rampant in the House, but we are going to wait 12 years 
before we take the medicine.
  Why? I think the answer is pretty simple. General support for term 
limits is strong. It has been mentioned, 70, 80 percent. But if you 
say, ``Oh,
 it is your Member, your Congressman from your district?'' then that 
drops rather drastically. And proponents of term limits do not find it 
very pleasant telling fellow members they are part of the problem, and 
it is time for them to say ``adios.'' As a matter of fact, most of the 
term-limit proponents slide up to you and say, ``Don't worry, we are 
not talking about you. It won't affect you.'' And therein lies the 
truth of the matter.

  I know there are proponents who believe a revolving-door Congress and 
change for the sake of change would restore a citizen legislature, but 
you do not get too far in the debate before it becomes obvious 
regarding the politics of this purge. It is the other guy that is the 
problem, not me, and not thee.
  But if it is off with the public-service heads, whose heads are we 
talking about? Who in this Congress has been here too long? Using the 
automatic term limit theory, it appears as if we are talking about most 
of the Republican and Democrat leadership, the gentleman from Georgia 
[Mr. Gingrich], the gentleman from Texas [Mr. DeLay], the gentleman 
from Missouri [Mr. Gephardt], the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Bonior]. 
Let's wipe out the leadership. That is the ticket. Or is it? My word, 
that is almost insurrection. So it must be somebody else that is at the 
root of this problem. I took the liberty of just going down the State 
delegations. Let us see, there is the gentleman from Alabama [Mr. 
Bevill], he has been there for 30 years, a most respected Member. He 
cannot be part of the problem. Is it the gentleman from Arizona [Mr. 
Stump], 24 years? I do not think it is Bob. The gentleman from 
California [Mr. Dellums] and the gentleman from California [Mr. Lewis]? 
I do not think so. My friend from Colorado, Mr. Schaefer? I am not 
trying to single anybody out. The voters can. But term limits cannot.
  It must be the gentleman from Florida [Mr. McCollum], that is who it 
is, 4 years over this term limit at 16 years. He is the author of one 
of the proposals. But Bill was unopposed in the last election. His 
voters just apparently did not get it. The gentlewoman from Hawaii 
[Mrs. Mink], the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], the gentlewoman 
from Illinois [Mrs. Collins], the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Porter], 
the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Burton], the gentleman from Kentucky 
[Mr. Rogers], the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. Livingston], the 
gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Frank], the gentleman from 
Massachusetts [Mr. Moakley], the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. 
Montgomery]. There is a good one, ``Sonny'' Montgomery, one of the most 
respected Members of the House. The gentleman from Missouri [Mr. 
Emerson], the gentlewoman from New Jersey [Mrs. Roukema], the gentleman 
from New York [Mr. Schumer], the gentleman from New York [Mr. Rangel], 
the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. 
 [[Page H3919]] Oxley], the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Regula], the 
gentleman from Oregon [Mr. Wyden], the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. 
Foglietta], the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Shuster], the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Gekas], the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. Goodling], the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. 
Spence], the gentleman from South Carolina who wants term limits. Tell 
Floyd he is out and you are in. The gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. 
Quillen]; who is going to tell us when to vote if we term limit Jimmy 
Quillen? The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Archer], the gentleman from 
Texas [Mr. Fields], the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Bateman], the 
gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Bliley], the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. 
Wolf], the gentleman from West Virginia [Mr. Mollohan], the gentleman 
from Wisconsin [Mr. Petri], Pat Roberts, Pat Roberts? Now, quiet, no 
applause. All shapes and sizes and different stripes in regards to 
their politics.
  But you know something, all of these Members received over 70 percent 
of the vote, or they were unopposed. Could these elected 
Representatives actually be doing a good job for their constituents 
and, depending on your point of view, for their country? Did Senators 
Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, or do Sam Nunn and Bob Dole, did 
Congressman Bob Michel and Bill Natcher, our beloved Bill Natcher?
  Every once in a while in a democracy there comes a time when we 
succumb to populist sentiment, and the emotion of the moment. We 
usually call it reform, and then we experience the law of unintended 
effects and spend the next several years trying to reform the reform.
  This is different. This is different. This amends the Constitution. 
We do not need to go down this path in order to achieve reform and a 
House responsive to the people.
  It is a paradox of enormous irony that in order to make the Congress 
more responsive to the people, we are recommending a limit on their 
voting rights.
  The gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] is right. Henry Hyde is right. 
Trust the people.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Camp].
  (Mr. CAMP asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. CAMP. Mr. Chairman, for the first time in history, the House of 
Representatives will debate and vote on a constitutional amendment to 
limit the amount of time a Representative or Senator can serve. It is 
about time.
  I support the McCollum amendment that provides a 12-year limit for 
both Houses, ensuring consistency and equality between this House and 
the Senate. It promotes a level playing field for all States.
  Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a Congress made up of Members 
who would serve for a lifetime. They would be astonished to know that 
the leadership in the previous Congress had an average of 27 years in 
this House. Over the past 10 years, 90 percent of incumbents have been 
reelected. They saw a Congress where individuals would leave their 
careers for a time, serve, and then return to live under the laws they 
  I support term limits not only because the people of my district and 
my State do, but because we have the opportunity to again make our 
Congress a citizen's legislature.
  Throughout these first 100 days, we have worked some long hours to 
keep our promises. This is one of them. Many Members have spoke of 
their support of term limits, well when it is time to vote. I urge my 
fellow members to vote ``yes'' on the McCollum amendment.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Tanner].
  (Mr. TANNER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. TANNER. Mr. Chairman, may I just simply say something very, I 
hope, profound, but very simple. No matter what you call it, an attempt 
to diminish the right of an American citizen's access, unrestricted 
access, to the ballot box in a free country is wrong. It is not only 
wrong, it is dangerous.
  These people are asking us to vote today to take away from an 
American citizen whom through the years people have fought and died to 
protect, defend, and honor, take away your right as an American citizen 
to vote for whomever you wish, whenever you wish, for as long as you 
wish. It is that simple. You can call it anything you want to. But it 
is a diminishment of an American citizen's right of unrestricted access 
to the ballot box.
  The people on this floor are totally irrelevant to this question. 
They are all, everyone you see, all on this floor today, tomorrow, or 
the next day are all going to die, get beat, leave, or otherwise retire 
or quit. They are not even a part of the question.
  The question today is: Are we going to, for the first time in this 
country's history, put a restriction on our citizens' right of 
unfettered access to the ballot box?
  The only other place I know in recent times that has been done was in 
the Soviet Union where only one party appeared on the ballot box.
  I want to ask the conservative constitutional scholars to speak up 
before we do something to the American people that is absolutely almost 
an outrage, to say the Government is going to tell you who you can vote 
for. That is what this is.
  This is an attempt to muzzle the will of the American people, and it 
ought to be stopped today.
  Mr. CANADY. of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Maine [Mr. Longley].
  Mr. LONGLEY. Mr. Chairman, I think what we are talking about is 
giving the American public the opportunity to see some form of 
reasonable term limitation, and I think that is fully in respect to the 
Constitution. In fact, I think we need to go back to not only the 
Constitution but the Declaration of Independence.
  And Mr. Jefferson made in that declaration the comment all men are 
created equal, but that to secure these rights, governments are 
instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the 
  I think we have confused what was intended by the Founding Fathers of 
this country. Our President over the weekend made the comment in his 
radio address that ``Government is our partner, that Government 
empowers us.'' And I think that is the great fallacy that has led to 
the difficulties that we are facing today as a Nation, that we allowed 
Government to become the preeminent institution in derogation of the 
rights and responsibilities of individuals, families, churches, 
schools, charities, every other institution of private society that has 
made this country great.
  There is the real foundation of our strength is the power of the 
individuals and the aspects of our community, not just the Federal 
  My State has spoken. My State has passed in referendum overwhelmingly 
a 6-year limitation on the service of Members or citizens in this 
Congress. I respect that vote.
  I think they have a right to see the same vote brought to other 
States across the country, and I think that we need to give them that 
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Florida [Mr. Mica].
  (Mr. MICA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, under the Articles of 
Confederation, there were term limits. If we look back in history when 
the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, they did not 
consider any term limits. In fact, they wanted to preserve the 
experience and knowledge of Members who had provided prior service.
  This book which I recommend to each and every one of you is entitled 
``The Miracle at Philadelphia.'' It chronicles the proceedings of the 
Constitutional Convention, and it is really one of my favorite books, 
and again I recommend it for reading by every Member of Congress and 
every citizen.
  In 1787 the Founding Fathers set 2-year terms for House Members. 
However, 1787 is not 1995.

                              {time}  1530

  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, when reflecting upon the Constitution, 
 [[Page H3920]] ``The Constitution is an experiment, life is an 
experiment,'' he said.
  We have had an opportunity for the past 200 years to reflect on this 
experiment provided by our Constitution.
  In 1787 they came, they served, and they left. Today we have PACs, 
unlimited campaign spending, and media expenditures that distort the 
entire process. I do not support 6-year term limits or 8-year term 
limits--they leave the bureaucrats & lobbyists in charge. Because of 
that I believe the experiment and the experience we have says that 12 
years can do it best. We have a different situation, we have experience 
and experiment to draw upon, and it is now our duty and responsibility 
to enact that provision into this document and into the laws of our 
  I support the 12-year terms in Mr. McCollum's amendment and ask my 
colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from California [Ms. Pelosi]. Apparently, alligators are 
not subject to term limits, or we would have heard about that.
  Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding this time to me.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the constitutional amendments 
before us which would limit the congressional terms of Members of 
Congress. I have three major objections to the constitutional term 
  First of all, as a woman, I take issue with term limits because they 
represent an obstacle to the contribution that women can make to our 
country. Look around this capitol, and you will see in Statuary Hall 
the distinguished American men who have served here in this body and in 
the Senate. For over 200 years men in Congress have had the opportunity 
to develop standing and to become internationally recognized leaders on 
the great issues of the day. To limit congressional terms just as the 
number of women who are serving in Congress is increasing denies the 
Congress and the American people the benefit of the wisdom and 
experience of America's women. I do not think that is an intentional 
move on the part of the proponents of term limits, but it is an 
unintended consequence. Just as more women are coming into power, term 
limit advocates are saying, ``Not so fast. We have changed the rules. 
You will not have the same opportunity as men to make your 
contributions to America.''
  Second, I oppose term limits because the real winners, if term limits 
pass, are the special-interest lobbyists in Washington, DC. They have 
no term limits and are not forced to step down after 6, 8, 10, or 12 
years. Passage of congressional term limits, particularly in the 
absence of real lobbyist reforms, will pit seasoned lobbyists against 
rookie legislators.
  Mr. Chairman, the clear winner would be Washington's professional 
lobbying corps while the American people will be the clear losers.
  Third, the reason I oppose term limits, I heard some of my colleagues 
say that State legislators have term limits. Serving in the Congress of 
the United States is different. We not only deal with the domestic 
issues, we have to deal in the international scene. We have to 
understand the politics of the U.S. and foreign relationships involved 
in decisions that we make. We will have our rookie legislators 
competing against sophisticated legislators in other countries, putting 
our country at a disadvantage. This is no time for drive-by 
legislators. It is time to respect experience, it is time to oppose 
term limits, and I urge my colleagues to oppose all the constitutional 
term limits amendments.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the 
gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Inglis].
  Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina. I thank the gentleman for yielding this 
time to me.
  Mr. Chairman, one of the arguments made here today is it takes 
experience and a while to get used to this House. It should be pointed 
out that the gentleman who just yielded me time is a sophomore, as I 
am, and he is already a subcommittee chairman, doing an excellent job 
as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution. There goes the 
argument for experience.
  Let me make this point: Here is the observation that was made time 
and again here today by those who defend the current order. They say to 
us that this experience is what we need. We need people of experience 
  What I do not think the incumbents here are getting yet is that the 
American People say, ``Experience at what? Experience at what? 
Balancing the budgets?'' We are $4.7 trillion in debt.
  The gentleman who came earlier with a long list of longtime 
incumbents, I ask, where were they when we ran up a debt of $4.7 
trillion? Experience at what? Balancing budgets?
  Maybe experience at running a savings-and-loan system that, because 
of the decision made in this body, created a savings-and-loan disaster. 
Now, not the scapegoats, let us be honest, not the scapegoats; the 
people who defrauded the savings-and-loans, not those folks. The 
decision here to increase the insured limit from $40,000 to $100,000.
  Experience at what? Running a good business? I would say, rather than 
those kind of experienced people, what we need is an experienced 
businessman or woman at home who has balanced a budget year after year 
after year in their business. If they come here, maybe they can do a 
better job. You know what? The arrogance of this place is showing 
today. The arrogance of Members who would say, ``I am indispensable. 
You can't get rid of me.''
  The American people are saying that is what we want to do, ``We want 
to get rid of you, but we can't because you have such enormous war 
chests. We can't because you have name identification higher then 
anybody in the district.'' They say, ``We want to get rid of you.'' 
That is what they are telling us in these term limits.
  I also point out, what about the argument about the careerists, the 
argument of Mr. Hyde? I point out that we are not here looking for a 
brain surgeon. If I were looking for a brain surgeon, I would agree, I 
would go to the most experienced guy or go to the most experienced 
lady. But I must say, that is not what we are looking for. We are 
looking for somebody to represent us here.
  I would submit to you that experience runs exactly contrary to 
representation. Experience here means experience at the PAC game, 
getting PAC money, more and more and more. So, more and more seniority 
so you can do the deals; more and more experience in this body removes 
you from the people out there. They want you to go home. They want you 
to run for something else if you choose, but submit yourselves to that 
  Do not stay here in an insulated situation where you can time and 
again return to this place and, contrary to what the gentleman from 
Illinois said about his challenger being at home sipping brandy,I must 
say to you I ran against an incumbent in 1992. And while she was 
sitting home, I was down at the office doing billable hours between 12 
a.m. and 3 and 4 a.m. To make up the billable hours because I did not 
have the luxury that we have here of running so hard.
  And let us be honest, that is what we do; we run full-time.
  We have a job that enables us to go to butchershop openings, as the 
chairman says, and to that meeting where we can speak to hundreds of 
people. A challenger does not have that. A challenger has to make a 
living while running for Congress against an entrenched incumbent with 
all his advantages.
                      announcement by the chairman

  The CHAIRMAN. The Chair would remind our guests today who are with us 
in the Chamber that the rules of the House forbid any public 
demonstrations from the gallery.
  The gentleman from Florida [Mr. Canady] has 4 minutes remaining, the 
gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Shays] has 3\1/2\ minutes remaining, 
and the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Frank] has a 1\1/2\ minutes 
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to 
  Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from South Carolina, or perhaps it may 
have been the gentleman from Maryland, raised the question about the 
22d amendment, which prohibits the President from running for more than 
two terms. Several of us, I first cosponsored an amendment to repeal 
that with Mr. Vander Jagt several years ago under the Reagan 
administration, and several others to repeal that. So, yes, that is 
 [[Page H3921]] also inconsistent, I believe, with this principle, and 
many of us have amendments here to repeal it.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of our time to the gentleman from 
New York [Mr. Engel].
  Mr. ENGEL. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for yielding this 
time to me.
  Mr. Chairman, let me just say to the gentleman from South Carolina 
who spoke about arrogance, the only arrogance I see today is by people 
who say they are for term limits but they want it to start with the 
next generation. They do not want it to start right here, they do not 
want it to be retroactive.
  If you are really for term limits, then you ought to be for term 
limits right now. And very soon we will have a chance to vote on that 
  Term limits, we have term limits; they are called elections.
  I won in 1988, beating a 10-term incumbent entrenched. The voters in 
my district decided it was time for a change.
  Let us let the voters decide. There has been a 50-percent turnover in 
1992 and 1994 in this House. It shows that the American public does not 
need term limits to restrict terms. We have a permanent staff here. You 
know what we will get with term limits? We will get a permanent staff. 
This place will be even more staff-dominated than it is now. And it 
would be more bureaucratic, more bureaucracy-dominated than it is now.
  Why would anyone stop their lives to come here for a temporary amount 
of time? Do you know what this place will turn into? This will be a 
plaything for millionaires who want to come here, this will be a 
plaything for mediocrity, people who cannot do anything else, who will 
take time out of their lives. But competent people are not going to 
want to do that.
  Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, people like that served more than 
12 years.
  Our buildings, the Rayburn Building, the Longworth Building, and the 
Cannon Building, let us rename them as Cells 1, 2, and 3 because they 
would not have been here 12 years.
  This is a bad idea, and it ought to be defeated.
  Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I might consume.
  First, I would like to start off by thanking the gentleman from 
Michigan [Mr. Conyers] and the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Frank] 
for yielding time to the Republicans who opposed term limits. I thank 
the gentleman. I also thank my colleague, the gentleman from Florida 
[Mr. Canady], for his graciousness in yielding time against the 
amendment to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. I would have 
loved that honor to yield to that gentleman, but I thank him for 
yielding time in that way.
  Mr. Chairman, lots of things we could say. But I think we all speak 
from our hearts, and that is probably the best way. And then the people 
decide through their elected Representatives. I signed a Contract With 
America, and there were parts I liked a lot, parts I did not like much 
at all. There was one part I wanted not to be part of the contract, and 
that was the concept of the term limits. I did not particularly like 
the language used, because it did not describe the way I feel.
  But what we said in our contract is:
       As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and 
     as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to 
     change its policies, but even more important, to restore the 
     bonds of trust between the people and their elected 
     representatives. That is why, in this era of official evasion 
     and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for 
     national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

  The last item that we promised to do, and it is very clear, we said, 
``A first-even vote on term limits to replace,'' and this is the term I 
did not like, ``career politicians with citizen legislators.'' That is 
what we are doing. And Republicans can feel very comfortable that we 
are fulfilling our contract in having this debate.
  As an opponent of term limits, I am very happy we have had this 
debate. I align myself with the remarks made by many on my side, the 
gentleman from Kansas [Mr. Roberts] and the gentleman from Illinois 
[Mr. Hyde]. I wish I could be as eloquent in terms of their message. I 
hope the American people have been listening to their comments.
  I look at Mr. Inglis and I say he is the best argument not to have 
term limits, because he defeated an incumbent. And I say to 
Republicans, in the late 1940's and early 1950's, ``You got Mr. 
Roosevelt, you got him good, real good. You punished Eisenhower, and 
you punished Ronald Reagan because they could not return to a third 
  I have an amendment to repeal the 22d amendment. I say to the 
Republicans on my side of the aisle, you can really get at the 
Democrats, you can end 40 years of Democratic control. You thought we 
could not do it by beating them at the polls; so what we did was we 
limited their terms.
  I had someone who said candidly they did not like Henry Waxman, so 
they wanted me to support term limits. I said, wait a second, Henry 
Waxman is in California, and they said, ``I know. I can't vote there. 
The only way I can get at Henry Waxman is to vote for term limits.'' 
Think of what we are saying. We are saying that Americans are trying to 
vote in districts they are not even represented by. Mr. Waxman has been 
a very active Member. He was elected by his constituents because they 
want him here. We should not decide in another area whether he can run. 
I am in my 4th term. Since that time, 291 people have been elected, new 
Members; 254 of them are serving right now. There are times I would 
love to be home living with my family 7 days a week, having my 
weekends, and, yes, making more money, because I would. I serve here 
because I think I am of service and because I believe I am making a 
difference. I may not be. My constituents can tell me that in a brutal 
message. They can decide not to reelect me.
  We need in this Chamber a mix, we need the young, we need the new, 
those who have served here for some time, and those who have served 
here for a long time. That mix will create the change 40 years of one-
party control.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, the issue before this House today is this: Will we 
respond to the will of the people whom we represent, or will we turn 
our backs on them in order to pursue our own institutional interests? 
We talked about many issues in this debate. We will be discussing those 
issues as we go forward in the debates on the individual amendments 
that will be presented. But that is the real issue. The American people 
are saying loudly and clearly that they want fundamental change, not 
just a change in the leadership of the Congress, but a change in the 
way the Government does business, a change in the way this institution 
is structured.

                              {time}  1545

  The American people are demanding term limits because they want 
Government to be more effective and less intrusive. The American people 
are demanding term limits because they are tired of having their lives 
run by politicians in Washington who have lost touch with what it means 
to live and work in the real world. The American people are demanding 
term limits because they are tired of having Representatives who come 
to Washington and never leave. They are demanding more competitive 
elections and Representatives who will put the interests of the people 
and the interests of the Nation ahead of their own individual careers. 
The American people are demanding term limits and for good reasons.
  Our most responsible course of action is, indeed it is our duty, to 
respond to their demand, to listen to the voices of the people, to vote 
in favor of limits on the terms of Members of Congress. To my 
colleagues I say, ``Listen to the voice of the people. Shut your ears 
to the voices of those who are defending the status quo.''
  One other issue I think we must focus on here is I do not think this 
should be a partisan debate, but there, I believe, has been an attempt 
by some to confuse the issue and to avoid responsibility. But despite 
those efforts, the American people will now know who supports term 
limits. They will see how the Members vote. We are going to vote. There 
will be a final vote on this issue, yes or no, on what is left standing 
at the end of the day. What the American people will see is that 
Republicans overwhelmingly support term limits and that most 
 [[Page H3922]] sadly, are opposed to term limits. That is the 
undeniable truth. The American people also know that the Republicans 
have brought this issue to the floor for the first time in the history 
of the Republic while the Democrats kept it bottled up for years. I 
think the American people understand that.
  The American people can count. They will see how the votes come down.
  Mr. STOKES, Mr. Chairman, I rise strong opposition to House Joint 
Resolution 73, the term-limits constitutional amendment. While I am 
aware of the movement in the Congress to change the Constitution to 
suit any whim that comes to the current majority, I am also mindful of 
my duty as a Member of this great body to act in the best interest of 
the people I represent and in the best interest of the U.S. 
Constitution I have sworn to uphold.
  We cannot and should not shirk our responsibility to act in the best 
interest of the American people by disrespecting the Founding document 
of this Nation--the U.S. Constitution. This shortsighted legislation 
will not only fail to ensure better representation of the American 
people in Congress, but will cruelly snatch from all Americans their 
ability to express their will through the ballot box.
  The bill before us today, the term-limits constitutional amendment, 
attempts to curtail the ability of the American public to choose their 
Representative. It also weakens this Republic by subverting some of the 
most important Constitutional principles that represent the foundation 
of this Nation, the electoral process and representative Government. 
Such an abdication of congressional responsibility will certainly 
undermine many of our important efforts to enhance voting rights, civil 
rights, and our democratic system that is the envy of the world.
  Mr. Chairman, the Republicans state in their Contract With America 
that the purpose of the term limits constitutional amendment is to 
provide for consideration in the House two different versions of a term 
limits constitutional amendment. The first version of the 
constitutional amendment would impose a limit of six terms on serving 
in the House and two terms on serving in the Senate. The second version 
would impose a limit of three terms on serving in the House and two 
terms on serving in the Senate. Both versions are designed to be 
applied prospectively.
  House Joint Resolution 73, warps the Constitution to such an extent 
that the overall stability of the Constitution would be placed in 
question. While I agree that Congress should continue to make 
significant strides to enhance service to the people we represent, this 
proposed measure goes well beyond the legitimate objective of making 
the Government more representative. The power the American people have 
to select and elect representatives to Congress has been granted 
exclusively to the people by the United States
 Constitution and should not be abridged.

  Mr. Chairman, removing from the American people the power to select 
who represents them in Congress is fundamentally antidemocratic. A term 
limits amendment to the U.S. Constitution in unnecessary. The fact is, 
term limits already exist. Every 2 years, Members of the House, and 
every 6 years, Members of the Senate, must submit their political lives 
to the will the people who first elected them. The American people have 
the right to determine who serves them and how long they serve.
  Establishing an arbitrary length of time for Members of the House and 
Senate to serve the people is contrary to the Democratic principles 
upon which this Nation is based. Who are we to challenge the decisions 
of the people concerning who will represent them. It is the height of 
arrogance for Members of this body to attack the wisdom of the American 
people and the genius of the architects of this Nation.
  So cherished by the American people is the right to vote and 
participate in our representative form of government that five historic 
constitutional amendments have been enacted by the Congress to ensure 
that all Americans have the right to select their representatives in 
Congress--the 15th amendment, 1870, prohibited States from denying the 
right to vote on account of ``race, color, or previous condition of 
servitude;'' the 19th amendment, 1920, enfranchised women; the 24th 
amendment, 1964, banned poll taxes; the 26th amendment, 1971, directed 
States to allow qualified citizens who were age 18 or older to vote 
and; finally, the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th 
amendment, 1868, came to be read as preventing States from enacting 
suffrage laws that conflict with fundamental principles of fairness, 
liberty, and self-government.
  Term limits will upset the delicate balance of powers crafted in the 
U.S. Constitution. The Constitution clearly places with the people the 
power to select and elect their representatives in Congress. The term 
limits constitutional amendment will transfer a significant portion of 
this constitutional power to the President and the judiciary. The 
weakening of Congress by arbitrarily prohibiting our most experienced 
legislators from serving this Nation in the Congress is unwise and tips 
the balance of powers against the legislature of this Nation.
  The great constitutional significance of the separation of powers 
cannot be questioned. In his famous Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 
(1926) dissent, Justice Louis D. Brandeis said: ``The doctrine of the 
separation of powers was adopted by the Convention of 1787, not to 
promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The 
purpose was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable 
friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among 
three departments, to save the people from autocracy.'' (p. 293).
  Mr. Chairman, I must also stress that the benefits of term limits are 
greatly exaggerated. Without any term limit constitutional amendment 
Congress receives regular transfusions of ``new blood.'' If we look 
beyond the re-election rates on a Congress-by-Congress basis, we see 
that 52 percent of the current House Members were initially elected in 
1990 or later. If term limits of 6 years in the House and 12 years in 
the Senate were in place, nearly half of the current Congress would 
have been ineligible to serve when the 104th Congress convened.
  The devaluation of experience in the Congress would not only be ill-
advised, it would be irresponsible. We cannot and should not experiment 
with the Constitution, Americans' right to vote, or the stability and 
security of this Nation to satisfy a campaign promise.
  I would also like to add that the historical record for term 
limitations is not supported by a review of constitutional history, 
either. It is clear that the Founding Fathers of this Nation believed 
that term limits were neither necessary or appropriate, and those who 
did seek such limits expressed a belief that the Constitution itself 
needed to be fundamentally changed also.
  This lack of historical support for term limitations can also be 
found in the Founders' transition from the Articles of Confederation to 
the Constitution as we know it today. Although term limits were 
included in the Articles of Confederation, they were wisely 
specifically excluded by the Founders of this Nation from the 
Constitution. The historical record simply does not support the 
incorporation of term limits into the U.S. Constitution.
  Mr. Chairman, this legislation is unsurpassed in its compromise of 
the people's right to representative Government and the balance of 
powers in our Nation. With very little opportunity for open hearing, 
and with limited debate, this measure has been placed before us. A 
measure of this kind requires detailed analysis of the impact it may 
have on the American people, and the greatest pillars of the American 
Republic: the voting franchise and the separation of powers--but no 
such review has, or will, take place. In the current rush to force this 
bill through the House, the will of the American people and the 
Constitution I have sworn to uphold will certainly be compromised. I 
urge my colleagues to join with me and vote against this bill.
  Mr. FAZIO of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to House 
Joint Resolution 73.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill comes to the floor today with the Republican 
leadership knowing that they do not have the votes to pass this 
legislation to amend our Constitution. History, public policy, and 
common sense dictate that we reject this ill-conceived attack on the 

     the framers of the constitution expressly rejected term limits

  The Framers of the Constitution debated and expressly rejected term 
limits. Few people know that the original document governing the newly 
formed Nation after the battle for independence, the Articles of the 
Confederation, had term limits.
  Those limits, known as rotation, limited delegates' service under the 
Articles of the Confederation to no more than 3 years in any 6-year 
period. As we all know, the Articles of the Confederation were a 
failure. To replace that failed document, the Framers met in the 
Constitutional Convention to write our Constitution.
  During that Constitutional Convention a delegation from New York, who 
had the very timely name of Robert Livingston, had this to say:

       The people are the best judges of who ought to represent 
     them. To dictate and control (the people), to tell them who 
     they shall not elect, is to abridge their natural rights. . . 
     . I repeat that (term limits are) an absolute abridgement of 
     the people's rights.

  [[Page H3923]] At the close of that debate, the delegates to the 
Constitutional Convention expressly rejected term limits as a dangerous 
and destructive force that obliterates the people's right to chose 
their own leaders. The Constitution is a timeless document--the product 
of the finest political minds ever to assemble for a single cause.
  As someone who reveres the Constitution and as someone who takes very 
seriously my sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the 
United States, I suggest that we adhere to the wisdom of the Framers of 
the Constitution and reject term limits.

   The Constitution's ``qualifications clause'' sets forth the only 
        requirements for citizens to become members of congress

  After rejecting the Articles of the Confederation's rotation term 
limit system, the Framers set forth the qualifications they deemed 
essential to service in Congress.
  Article I, section 2 sets forth the constitutional qualifications for 
Members of the House of Representatives:

       No person shall be a representative who shall not have 
     attained the age of twenty-five years, has been seven years a 
     citizen of the United States, and who shall, when elected, be 
     an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

  The Framers of the Constitution thus clearly articulated three simple 
qualifications for Members of the House of Representatives: 
Representatives must be 25 years of age, citizens of the United States 
for at least 7 years, and citizens of the State they will represent in 
this great body.
  The Constitution's qualifications clause is unequivocal. The 
Constitution does not allow for any additional restrictions on 
candidates for Congress. Nor does it give to the States the power to 
set additional, extra-constitutional requirements for office.
  Again, those who support the Constitution and those who claim to 
adhere to original intent should heed the wisdom of the Framers who set 
forth three very simple and clear qualifications for citizens to hold 
office. Apart from these three qualifications, the only limit embraced 
by the Framers is the on-going requirement that any Member be able to 
command a plurality, if not a majority, of the vote.

             we have term limits: they're called elections

  To those who say times have changed so now we must change by adding 
term limits, I make two observations. First we have term limits 
already--they're called elections. The November election results show 
that term limits are unnecessary.
  Fifty-two percent of the Members of this House were elected in 1990 
or later.
  The right to vote--a right people all over the world continue to 
fight and die for--that power to vote carries with it the right to vote 
people out of office. That's why we have elections.
  Second, the times do change but the Constitution rarely changes form.
  The Constitution has been amended only 27 times over 200 years since 
ratification. Times change, but changes to the document that is the 
very foundation of our democracy should be carefully considered and 

           term limits destroy the delicate balance of powers

  The Constitution has in place a very delicate, well-balanced 
separation of powers. The three branches of Government--the 
legislative, the executive, and the judicial--each have a very specific 
role to play.
  Perhaps the most important role of any one branch is to act as the 
check and balance on the other two branches. Term limits rob Congress 
of its ability to act as check on the executive branch.
  During the 104th Congress, we have heard a steady stream of criticism 
about bureaucrats: bureaucrats, bureaucrats, bureaucrats.
  If we pass term limits, does anyone believe that the bureaucracies 
will be more responsive?
  You think you have trouble getting responses to the letters and phone 
calls you make to Government bureaucracies today--imagine the response 
you'll get when you have term limits hanging over your head. With term 
limits the bureaucrats can just burrow-in and wait you out.
  Further, if every Member of Congress was required to resign after 12 
years, the influence that comes with experience and expertise would be 
passed to longtime staff members. These individuals are elected by no 
one, and, therefore, are not directly accountable to the voters. 
Remember, you can't place term limits on the unelected. Bureaucrats, 
staff, and lobbyists all have the right to hang around, manipulating 
the process with the power of institutional knowledge.
          this is a purely symbolic act, not real term limits

  Before the elections of November, the Republican Contract With 
America was presented as an iron clad promise to deliver. It was only 
after the election that the Republicans started to highlight that all 
they had really promised was a vote on the contract provisions.
  Today, they will hold this purely symbolic vote. The Republican 
leadership knows that they do not have the votes to pass this measure. 
Now they are looking for a way to place the blame on the Democrats.

         nineteen years of delay: the hollow republican scheme

  Putting aside the fact that the votes are not here to pass this 
bill--let's look at the hollow nature of this symbolic act.
  First, the bill is a constitutional amendment that must go to the 
States. The measure gives the States 7 years to ratify the amendment. 
In addition, the 12-year limit is not retroactive.
  That means it could be 19 years before any person would be affected 
by this purely symbolic act--7 years for enactment plus 12 years before 
it becomes applicable.
  If the Republican leadership wants to address this issue and address 
it now, why have they set in motion a 19-year process? Nineteen years--
this term limits plan is a fraud.
  You can draw an analogy to the Republican tax plan. Just as 
Republicans want to handcuff future generations with debt to pay for a 
tax cut for people who make more than $200,000 a year, this phony term 
limits bill aims that saddling future generations some 19 years down 
the road with term limits.
  We shouldn't give a tax cut to people making $200,000 a year while we 
hand the bill to your children. Likewise, we shouldn't pass a phony 
term limits bill and say to people 19 years in the future, ``it's your 
problem--deal with it.''

          term limits abridge the fundamental rights of voters

  The measure of all things we do in this Chamber is and should be the 
effect of our actions on the citizens of this country. Voters have a 
fundamental right to choose their own Representatives.
  Term limits allow voters in one district to dictate to voters in 
another district that they cannot continue to reelect their own Member, 
no matter how effective that Member has been.
  Let's give the American public a little credit.
  After all, the voters really know best who they want to elect and for 
how long. In a democracy, individuals should be able to vote for the 
Representative of their choice.
  Altering our Nation's Constitution to limit the number of terms a 
person may serve restricts the right of voters to choose who will 
represent them. Under term limits, the right of the people to choose 
their own leadership is taken away.
  Majority rule is a cornerstone of democracy; it's not majority rule 
for some arbitrary period not to exceed 12 years.
  Respect the Constitution; respect the intelligence of the American 
people; respect the delicate balance embodied in the Constitution's 
separation of powers. Vote no on term limits.
  Mr. MANTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a constitutional 
amendment to impose limits on the terms of Members of the House and 
  Mr. Chairman, the well-oiled, elitist, multimillion-dollar campaign 
being waged in support of term limits has disparaged the so-called 
career politician and attacked Members of Congress as individuals who 
are intoxicated with power and out of touch with the people they 
  But the central issue in this debate is not the virtue or wickedness 
of incumbency; instead, this debate is about our faith in the ability 
of citizens to choose the person who can best represent them in 
  Term limit proponents cynically believe that average citizens are 
simply incapable of making a thoughtful decision when they enter the 
voting booth every 2 years. I strongly reject that notion. Since 1990, 
we have had a greater than 50-percent change in the membership of the 
House. This statistic proves that voters know how to rid themselves of 
an elected official whom they do not support.
  I have faith in the voters of the Seventh Congressional District of 
New York, which I represent. The citizens in Queens and the Bronx are 
bright, hard working people who have an active interest in the 
government and the elected officials who represent them. They often, 
and sometimes forcefully, express their views on the important issues 
that affect their everyday lives. And every 2 years they have an 
opportunity to determine who, from their community, can best represent 
those views in the Congress.
  The right of the people to freely elect their representatives is the 
fundamental foundation of democracy. Any infringement on that right is 
a threat to democracy.
  Despite the somewhat differing views the Founding Fathers may have 
had on the issue of term limits, the Constitution is unambiguous on 
this issue. The Founding Fathers expressly rejected the idea that the 
terms of Members of Congress should be limited by anything other than 
place of residency, age, and, of course, the voters.
  Some term limits proponents have argued that the Constitution should 
be amended from 
 [[Page H3924]] time to time to reflect the changing needs of our 
society. They cite the 13th amendment ending slavery, and the 19th 
amendment giving women the right to vote as examples. I agree that we 
should improve the Constitution to expand and protect the fundamental 
rights of our democracy. But we should reject any attempt to diminish 
or usurp those rights.
  Mr. Chairman, I believe in our representative democracy. I trust the 
wisdom of the Founding Fathers. And I have full faith and allegiance in 
the ability of the citizenry to ensure that government remains 
accountable to the people.
  Mr. CRANE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of a constitutional 
amendment to limit the terms of Members of Congress. While several 
different proposals have been discussed today, I believe that it is 
vitally important that we allow the States to ratify a constitutional 
amendment for congressional term limits, regardless of the final 
  I have been a long-time supporter of term limits. In 1985, I 
introduced my first bill to set a 6-year limit on service for both 
Members of the House and Senate. Although I promoted such an idea for a 
decade, neither I, nor my colleagues who supported term limits, had an 
opportunity to bring such an idea to the House floor. While I 
personally prefer my term limits proposal, I am very pleased that the 
issue of term limits has finally come to the floor for a vote.
  To those of my colleagues who oppose term limits because it was not 
part of the Constitution, I would suggest that our Founding Fathers 
did, indeed, believe that rotation in office was vital to a 
representative democracy. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, after reviewing 
the Constitution, wrote to James Madison: ``The second feature I 
dislike [the first being the absence of a Bill of Rights], and greatly 
dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of 
rotation in office. * * *''
  During the early days of our Republic, service in Congress was 
generally limited to 4 years in the House and one 6-year term in the 
Senate. However, these were self-imposed limits on service.
  In closing, I would urge my colleagues, despite their preferences for 
one term limit proposal or another, to vote yes on final passage for 
term limits, and send it on to the States for ratification.
  Mr. CLINGER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of submitting to the 
states for consideration Congressman McCollum's proposed constitutional 
amendment limiting Members of Congress to 12 years of service.
  Many advocates of term limits believe they are necessary to bring 
government closer to the people by replacing career politicians with 
citizen legislators. Other advocates suggest term limits are needed to 
isolate decisionmakers from the whims of their constituencies so they 
can do what is in the best interests of the country, not just their 
States or districts. The common theme among all term limits supporters, 
however, is that Congress as an institution is not serving the American 
people well and it needs to be changed.
  Whatever the reasons for their support of term limits, advocates have 
made great strides in energizing and organizing grassroots America. The 
popularity of congressional term limits has been demonstrated by their 
adoption in 22 States since 1990--21 of which were passed by State 
ballot initiatives.
  Although I intend to vote to initiate a national debate on the issue, 
I have concerns about a constitutional amendment establishing term 
limits. I am personally not convinced that an arbitrarily imposed limit 
is necessary or wise. Voters have the power to limit an ineffective 
Member's term every 2 years when they go the ballot box. In fact, about 
one half of all Members currently serving in the House have been 
elected since 1990.
  I also am concerned that term limits may severely diminish the power 
of the House and Senate in relation to the executive branch. Unelected 
bureaucrats, whose careers are not limited, would hold a considerable 
advantage over inexperienced legislators in the technical knowledge 
that can only be learned over time. I have the same concern with regard 
to congressional committee staff, whose expertise on the issues may 
cause the people's elected representatives to follow rather than lead.
  I understand the benefits of membership turnover, new blood brings 
new, often innovative, ideas and solutions to our country's problems. 
Nevertheless, there is also something to be said for experience and 
institutional memory. Today's world and the problems confronting us are 
so complex that experience, expertise, and institutional memory should 
be considered an asset, not a liability. The Federal Government alone 
has become so enormous that it takes several terms just to get a handle 
on the thousands of Federal agencies and programs and their functions.
  Frankly, I feel there is a better alternative to term limits which 
will improve membership turnover, infuse new blood and new ideas into 
Congress, and ensure elective representatives are held more accountable 
to their constituents. That alternative is campaign finance reform that 
levels the playing field between incumbent and challenger.
  I think Congress' problems may have less to do with career 
politicians and more to do with noncompetitive elections that allow 
undeserving incumbents to return to Congress year after year. 
Incumbents are often left unaccountable for their actions in Congress 
because of their overwhelming re-election advantages including high 
name recognition, franking privileges, campaign contributions from 
PAC's and fellow congressional campaign committees.
  To restrict the incumbent's advantages, in prior Congresses I have 
introduced three campaign finance reform bills which would reduce the 
role of PAC's and increase the role of constituents, ban congressional 
leadership and campaign committees from contributing to another 
candidate's campaign, and create a tax credit for instate contributors. 
I plan to reintroduce these bills after we return from April recess.
  Considering my misgivings about term limits, one might ask, why is 
Bill Clinger casting an ``aye'' vote for the McCollum substitute?
  Clearly, the people have spoken on term limits, and I feel it is 
appropriate for the national debate on this issue to continue. Should 
the House and Senate adopt identical amendments, the measure would then 
go to the States for their consideration. I believe that this process 
should be allowed to move forward, and that this important issue must 
be decided by the people.
  Although I generally do not advocate governing by referendum, the 
debate on term limits is unique. In the eyes of some Americans, there 
may be a basic conflict of interest in Members of Congress deciding 
whether or not to impose term limits on themselves. To some, it just 
does not pass the smell test.
  If Congress blocks this term limits measure and stifles the national 
debate on the value of term limits, I fear the American public will 
lose complete confidence in Congress. They will assume Members voted 
against term limits out of self-interest, no matter how many convincing 
arguments against term limits are raised.
  I feel it would be healthier for Congress as an institution and, 
indeed, our country as a whole if we permit this debate to continue.
  Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, when I ran for Congress in 1988, I 
explained very carefully to the people of the then-22d Congressional 
District of Illinois that I believed in a citizen-legislator form of 
  I had taught American government for several years and had no doubt 
that the Founding Fathers meant our national legislature to be a 
citizen legislature.
  Citizens were to train themselves for a profession, leave that 
profession for a time to serve in the House, and return to their 
profession. Believing as such, I voluntarily limited myself to 10 years 
of service if it was the will of the people to elect me for such a 
period of time. I have every intention of keeping that promise.
  I have always believed, until the last couple of years, that any 
limitation on service in the Congress should not be mandated, except by 
a vote of the people with regards to the individual who seeks to 
represent them in this body.
  I would like to explain why I no longer believe as I did and the 
reason I now favor term limits.
  When I came here in January 1989, two things were readily apparent. 
One, the special interests had exaggerated influence on the development 
of legislation in this body by virtue of the tremendous amount of money 
they spent on congressional campaigns, and two, the ability of 
incumbents to advantage themselves by use of the frank and other 
incumbent promotion devices not available to a challenger, were truly 
  Ninety-nine percent of all incumbents were reelected to office every 
term because they received almost all special interest campaign funds 
and because of their use of the system to promote themselves. Even 
during the last two elections when we had tremendous turnover in the 
House, 94 and 90 percent of incumbents were reelected, respectively.
  I believed, at the beginning of my tenure here, that the Congress 
would enact meaningful campaign finance reform eventually, leveling the 
playing field for challengers and making the possibility of reasonable 
turnover in the Congress possible.
  I no longer believe we will accomplish this task because of the wide 
differences in party philosophies on this issue. Nearly every year in 
which I have served we have addressed campaign finance reform only to 
see it dissolve into a watered-down version of nothing. Term limits of 
a reasonable length may be the only way to level the playing field.
  Let me address additional arguments put forth against term limits.
  Some say term limits restrict voters choices. I believe the greater 
restriction on voters' choices is the ability of the incumbent to 
 [[Page H3925]] dominate an election by outspending challengers 
sometimes 10 to 1 because of special interest money that accrues 
primarily to them.
  Most campaigns are run by 30-second commercials and incumbents 
dominate the airways. The incumbent is allowed to send unsolicited mass 
mailings for the 2 years in office telling the constituents of all the 
good things that he or she is doing on their behalf. Challengers do not 
have that opportunity at taxpayers expense.
  Others say the turnover of more than 50 percent of the House in the 
last two elections prove term limits are unnecessary. But the turnover 
was almost exclusively in open seats where no incumbent was running. In 
1992, incumbents still won 94 percent of their seats, and in 1994, they 
won 90 percent.
  Some people cite the loss of experience as the most important reason 
to defeat term limits. But the real experience that is important in 
this job is the experience we bring to the job, the experience of 
having been educators, farmers, or businessmen.
  The experience we gain here is process and it is important. But the 
decision-making skills we bring to the job are even more important. How 
do we know unless we are willing to expand the possibilities of other 
people bringing their skills to this job that we are not overlooking 
other experiences that may have even greater impact on solving the 
problems of this country.
  The voters are indeed the best judge of who ought to represent them 
but their deliberations must be exposed to a full and balanced view of 
each candidate. I do not believe our present system allows this.
  So therefore I intend to support the 12-year term limitation as a 
constitutional amendment.
  Mr. ROEMER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to term limits for 
Members of Congress.
  Since I have been in Congress, I have been a leading advocate for 
overhauling the way Congress works. I have supported cuts in the size 
of congressional staff and committees and simplifying this 
institution's operations. But we do not need term limits to make 
changes in Congress. The last two elections clearly demonstrate the 
power of the ballot. Today, 40 percent of Members are serving their 
first or second terms and more than half of this body, including 
myself, was elected after 1990. Real term limits are at the ballot box, 
and that is where they should be. Every time voters go to the polls, 
they make the decision of whether to limit the term of their elected 
  Most importantly, term limits would interfere with the fundamental 
right of voters to elect their own representatives. The people are the 
best judge of who ought to represent them and can be trusted to choose 
their representatives without Government stepping in to arbitrarily 
regulate their choice.
  Term limits ignore the need for experience in Congress, where 
intricate public policy issues are deliberated. Imagine if term limits 
had restricted the public service of our Founding Fathers. James 
Madison spent a total of 43 years in public office. His public career 
began as a member of the committee of safety from Orange County in 1774 
and after holding a number of other State offices, Madison attended the 
Continental Congress for five 1-year terms and was then elected to the 
first Congress in 1789. He was subsequently re-elected to the second, 
third, and fourth Congress for a total of 8 years of service. Madison 
finally served as Secretary of State and President in the final 16 
years of his distinguished public service.
  Thomas Jefferson served in various positions in public office for 35 
years. After serving as a member of the house of burgesses and the 
Constitutional Congress, Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia in 
1779. Despite an announced ``end of his public life,'' Jefferson was 
elected to Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1783 and 
later served as plenipotentiary to France and was appointed as the 
first Secretary of State under George Washington's Cabinet. Jefferson 
later served as Vice President and completed his public service as 
President from 1801 to 1809.
  Imagine the outcome of the Constitutional Convention and the first 
formative days of our Nation's evolution without Thomas Jefferson and 
James Madison and other Founding Fathers such as John Quincy Adams who, 
because of term limits, would not have had the opportunity to invest 
their lives in the genesis of the United States.
  Do we want to send the wrong message to our Nation's brightest and 
most qualified individuals who look forward to serving their country 
and promoting the best interests of their constituencies? Do we want to 
write this term limits disincentive into our Constitution?
  What other countries have term limits? If we look to the South, 
Mexico has strict term limits. Do we want to follow the lead of a 
nation of term limits such as Mexico, which despite serious political 
and economic tumult, completely replaces its Senators and its President 
every 6 years?
  This Nation's future depends on the integrity and caliber of the 
people leading it. Important and substantive areas of legislation rely 
on individuals with the leadership, experience, wisdom and the judgment 
that might come from terms of service. We cannot afford to disqualify 
whose who can bring sound judgment achieved through years of experience 
to the increasingly demanding tasks of elected office. Term limits 
would destroy this opportunity and make Congress an institution where 
inexperience is more valued than professionalism and experience.
  The Founding Fathers used the same arguments against term limits 
during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that are being heard 
today. In the Federalist Papers No. 71, Alexander Hamilton challenged 
proposals amending the Constitution to include rotation for the 
Delegates and the President because it ``interfered with the people's 
right to choose their officials, depriving the new government of 
experienced officials and reducing the incentives for political 
  In the Federalist Papers No. 53, James Madison wrote that a few 
Members of Congress will possess superior talents and will become 
masters of public business. The greater the proportion of new Members, 
Madison wrote, ``the more apt they will be to fall into the snares that 
may be laid for them.''
  Robert Livingston, during New York's debate on the adoption of the 
Constitution, said that the people are the best judges of who ought to 
represent them. To dictate and control them and to tell them whom they 
shall not elect, ``takes away the strongest stimulus to public virtue--
the hopes of honors and rewards.'' Although rotation in office was 
considered as part of the Articles of Confederation, it was ultimately 
rejected by the members of the Constitutional Convention.
  Aside from taking a fundamental right away from citizens, term limits 
pose a number of risks that could aggravate the problems facing 
Congress as an institution. For instance, they are likely to increase 
the power of special interest organizations and lobbyists, 
congressional staff and the executive branch, all of whom are 
significantly less accountable to the public.
  Term limits will also create the potential hazards that more Members 
of Congress will favor special interests as their term of service 
expires and they look forward to their next career. In this vein, 
Alexander Hamilton argued that term limits would tempt ``ignoble 
views'' by office holders who would have thought about nothing else 
than what their next job would be rather than focusing on the people's 
business. As a Wall Street Journal columnist recently indicated, 
``Instead of fresh-faced citizen legislators, we would end up with men 
and women who knew that after 12 years they had to seek a new line of 
work, most probably with the very interests that are lobbying them.''
  Term limits are not an appropriate or effective solution to the 
problems facing our political system. They would undermine a 
cornerstone of our democracy--the right to vote.
  I have a picture of the U.S. Capitol in my congressional office. 
Under the magnificent and historic picture of this building is a quote 
from one of the most distinguished Founding Fathers, Alexander 
Hamilton. He said about government and the Capitol; ``Here, Sir, the 
people govern.'' It is the people who should run Congress. It is the 
people who should vote. It is the people and the ballot box that will 
suffer if a gimmick like term limits succeeds.
  Mr. KIM. Mr. Chairman, the American people overwhelmingly support a 
constitutional amendment limiting the terms Members of Congress may 
serve in Washington. I believe that the power of term limits has become 
an issue of national debate because Washington is simply out of touch 
with the voters back home.
  Today, votes will be taken on four term limit measures, and the one 
that receives the most over 218 will be the one voted on for final 
passage. While we have preferences, I nonetheless intend to support 
every proposal. Any one of them is better than none at all.
  I am voting for the Peterson-Dingell-Frank amendment that imposes 
retroactive term limits of six terms on Representatives and two terms 
on Senators. Making the law apply to those who impose it would be the 
best way to serve the interests of the American people. Why are 12 more 
years needed for those who have already served this amount of time? 
Haven't they had a chance to fulfill their elected promises already? 
While this would affect the 218 Members who have or are already serving 
three terms in office, 218 is only half of the House. We've had that 
kind of change over the past 4 years. The result? Real action--such as 
the Contract With America. Has the quality of representation declined 
in the 104th Congress or other States due to term limits? I would have 
to say no.
  I am also supporting the Inglis amendment. My first choice is for the 
House to implement this measure, which provides three 2-year terms in 
the House and two 6-year terms in the Senate. Two years ago the 
citizens of 
 [[Page H3926]] California, through a ballot initiative, limited the 
terms of Federal legislators to 6 years in office. The Inglis amendment 
upholds the position of California.
  The Hilleary amendment, my last choice, have set lifetime limits of 
12 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate. It does not preempt 
any of the term limit proposals currently passed by the States and is 
not retroactive. That means a 12-year term limit imposed by the State 
of North Dakota would be able to keep legislators in Congress longer 
than California because of its 6-year limit. I believe this would be 
unfair and would create uneven representation on a national level. 
Nonetheless, this is still better than nothing.
  The fourth measure I intend to vote for is the McCollum 12-year term 
limit amendment. This legislation limits Representatives to six full 
terms and two terms for Senators. Because this is a 12-year limit and 
therefore different from California's I concur with the amendment's 
provision which preempts State law. That ensures that all States are on 
a level playing field and that no State has a seniority advantage over 
  I have been listening to opponents of term limits argue today that 
such an amendment would limit the amount of experience legislators have 
in representing their constituents in Washington. They also point out 
that there will be a lack of qualified people to run for congressional 
offices. These concerns are unfounded.
  Term limits have already been imposed on other State and Federal 
political offices. My own State of California has passed a 6-year term 
limit on State legislators. So far, it has not had a problem with 
attracting qualified individuals to compete for open seats. As a matter 
of fact, after California passed term limits in 1990, the number of 
candidates running for office
 increased by 40 percent. Term limits have broadened the field and 
improved the competition.
  The 22d amendment to the Constitution, which took effect in 1951, 
restricts the term of office for the President of the United States to 
two terms. Thirty-five States impose term limits on their Governors. 
And, the government has not fallen apart. If term limits are good 
enough for them, they should be good enough for U.S. Congressmen and 
  The longer Members serve in Congress, the more removed they can 
become from the voters who elected them. The American people want to 
send representatives to Washington who truly understand what it means 
to work hard for a living, pay their taxes, and make ends meet for 
their families. They believe that a citizen legislator rather than a 
career Congressman best represents their interests.
  The imposition of term limits is in no way a judgment on the quality 
of representation in the House today. I have served with some 
outstanding Representatives. However, I have noticed that the lure of 
Washington and all of its trappings of power can overcome some. Inside-
the-beltway politics have a way of taking priority over the legitimate 
bread and butter concerns of average Americans. Term limits should 
prevent Members from becoming out of touch with their constituencies.
  I also do not believe that term limits will cause a disorderly 
transfer of power. As a result of the past two elections, almost 50 
percent of the House is comprised of new Members. This has not caused a 
breakdown of the system.
  However, from a review of modern congressional history, this positive 
turnover is an exception--not the norm. The fact that one party 
controlled the House for 40 years straight--and that a noticeable 
number of older Congressmen have served and in some cases controlled--
this House for 15, 20, 25, or 30 years proves that change must be 
  There is the illogical fear that the power will not remain with the 
representatives sent by the voters to Washington, but will slip into 
the hands of the unelected bureaucrats who serve them. This will never 
happen because elected officials always have had the option to hire and 
fire congressional staffers. As a matter of fact, it was not until the 
House passed the Congressional Compliance Act of 1995 that staffers 
were given virtually any rights at all.
  Therefore, I believe the term limits amendment should be added to the 
Constitution so we can move forward and restore accountability to the 
U.S. Congress. It's time to stop talking and start the term limit clock 
  Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Chairman, this member has supported nationwide 
congressional term limitations the past and currently is an original 
cosponsor of legislation in the 104th Congress to accomplish just that 
in the form of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In addition, this 
Member cosponsored term limitation legislation the first day of the 
103d Congress--the first legislative day after Nebraska offered term 
limits by citizen initiative. This was necessary to protect Nebraska's 
interest vis a vis other States who had not passed similar 
congressional term limits. This Member believes that the prevailing 
criteria for any congressional term limits must be a nationwide 
standard. Otherwise, this Member must reiterate his belief and previous 
statements that the unilateral action by this Member's home State of 
Nebraska in passing a term limitation for its congressional delegation 
places Nebraska at a disadvantage in terms of seniority and 
representation when compared with the congressional delegations from 
other States without such limitations.
  Under the rule, the House will consider four constitutional 
amendments in the nature of a substitute under a winner-take-all 
procedure. This Member has carefully examined the four substitutes and 
provides the following analysis of these measures.
  First of all, this Member supports the passage of the McCollum 12-
year term limit proposal, the base bill, since this Member has been 
cosponsoring it since the first day of the 103d Congress. Therefore, 
this Member hopes that the McCollum provisions are the final passage 
  Second, this Member will vote for the Inglis 6-year term limit 
alternative even though, in this Member's judgment, it is not in the 
best interest of the country. That is an issue about which people can 
legitimately disagree, and voting for this provision which is, in this 
Member's judgment, of doubtful merit, is not a violation of our oath of 
office. This Member's vote for it can only be justified on the basis 
that it is what the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly approved during 
the last election. This Member does not see any clear justification for 
substituting his judgment for their collective judgment even though 
this Member laments the payment for petition circulators and the 
inordinate amount of out-of-state money used by supporters as is 
unfortunately still permissible under Nebraska State law.
  Third, this Member intends to vote ``no'' on the Hilleary 12-year cap 
alternative because it does not preempt State law. Thus if the U.S. 
Supreme Court permits under the Arkansas case, or a subsequent case, 
other States could have a 12-year, a 10-year, or an 8-year term limit 
while Nebraska will be stuck with a 6-year limit; that would put 
Nebraskans at a disadvantage. While it is true that the Inglis 
alternative also does not preempt State law, but it provides for a 6-
year term limit and no State is likely to limit terms to less than 6 
years; thus, Nebraska at least would not be at a disadvantage under the 
Inglis alternative.
  Finally, this Member will vote against the Peterson-Dingell-Frank 
retroactive term limit alternative as a transparently disingenuous, 
partisan ploy.
  Again, this Member supports nationwide congressional term limits and 
will vote in accordance with that stance.
  Mr. PASTOR. Mr. Chairman, supporters of term limits suggest they are 
restoring the intent of the Founding Fathers of creating a citizen 
legislature. That's why the term limits constitutional amendment we are 
considering today is called the Citizens Legislature Act.
  Those advancing that argument to justify term limits spin history on 
its head. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Framers 
of the Constitution were unequivocal in their rejection of terms limits 
for Members of Congress. Our Founding Fathers thought term limits was a 
bad idea more than 200 years ago; it is a bad idea now; and it will be 
a bad idea 100 years from now.
  I call my colleagues' attention to excerpts from the Congressional 
Research Service report which treats the constitutionality of 
congressional term limits.
            [From the CRS Report for Congress, Jan. 2, 1992]

      The Constitutionality of States Limiting Congressional Terms

                         (By L. Paige Whitaker)
                          iii. framers' intent

       State imposed term limits appear to conflict with the 
     intent of the Framers of the Constitution to eliminate the 
     policy of compulsory rotation in office. The concept of 
     rotation in office was embodied in the Articles of 
     Confederation, which provided that delegates to Congress 
     could serve for no more than three years in any six-year 
     period.\15\ As a result, the issue of rotation in office was 
     debated during the adoption of the Constitution.
     Footnotes at end of article.
       Rotation, as proposed by the anti-federalists, would force 
     members of Congress to step down from office for a period of 
     time and live among the people in their former rank of 
     citizenship. It was intended to provide members with a 
     greater knowledge of their country and constituency, in order 
     for them to return to the Congress as more informed 
     legislators, with a greater sensitivity to the concerns of 
     their constituents.\16\ The anti-federalists also argued that 
     a rotation requirement would prevent the abuses of corruption 
     and would encourage a greater number of people to hold public 
       After assiduous debate, however, the Framers rejected 
     rotation, citing the right of the people to freely elect and 
     the importance of experienced legislators. As Robert R. 
     Livingston stated during the New York debates: 
      [[Page H3927]] ``The people are the best judges who ought to 
     represent them. To dictate and control them, to tell them 
     whom they shall not elect, is to abridge their natural 
     rights. This rotation is
      an absurd species of ostracism--a mode of proscribing 
     eminent merit, and banishing from stations of trust those 
     who have filled them with the greatest faithfulness. 
     Besides, it takes away the strongest stimulus to public 
     virtue--the hope of honors and rewards. The acquisition of 
     abilities is hardly worth the trouble, unless one is to 
     enjoy the satisfaction of employing them for the good of 
     one's country. We all know that experience is 
     indispensably necessary to good government. Shall we, 
     then, drive experience into obscurity? I repeat that this 
     is an absolute abridgment of the people's rights.\18\''
       In response to the anti-federalists claim that rotation 
     would prevent corruption, the federalists argued that indeed, 
     the very prospect of reelection would provide a legislator 
     with an incentive to be responsive to the needs of his 
     constituents. If a legislator knows that his re-election 
     depends on the ``will of the people'' and is ``not fettered 
     by any law,'' he will serve the public well. On the other 
     hand, if he knows that no matter how well he serves, he is 
     precluded from re-election, ``he will become more 
     unambitious, and regardless of public opinion. The love of 
     power, in a republican government, is ever attended by a 
     proportionable sense of dependence.''\19\ As Alexander 
     Hamilton similarly remarked, ``[w]hen a man knows he must 
     quit his station, let his merit be what it may, he will turn 
     his attention chiefly to his own emolument.''\20\
       As evidenced by their debate, it is clear that the Framers 
     intentionally rejected rotation in office. In so doing, it 
     appears that they also rejected the policy underlying state 
     imposed term limits. Commentators have concluded that in view 
     of this deliberate rejection by the Framers, the 
     qualifications clauses can only be interpreted as a 
     prohibition on the states from limiting the re-election of 
     their congressional delegations.\21\

     \15\Art. of Confed. art. V, cl. 2.
     \16\2 Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 288 
     (J. Elliot) (1888) (speech of G. Livingston).
     \17\Id. at 310 (speech of M. Smith). With regard to 
     corruption, Smith argued: ``A rotation I consider as the best 
     possible mode of effecting a remedy. The amendment will not 
     only have a tendency to defeat any plots which may be formed 
     against the liberty and authority of the state governments, 
     but will be the best means to extinguish the factions which 
     often prevail, and which are sometimes so fatal to 
     legislative bodies.''
     Concerning the argument that rotation would encourage 
     participation in government Smith commented: ``If the office 
     is to be perpetually confined to a few, other men, of equal 
     talents and virtue, but not possessed of so extensive an 
     influence, may be discouraged from aspiring to it.
     \18\Id. at 292-93 (speech of R. Livingston). In accord, 
     Alexander Hamilton commented that, ``It has been observed, 
     that it is not possible there should be in a state only two 
     men qualified for senators. But, sir, the question is not, 
     whether there may be no more than two men; but whether, in 
     certain emergencies, you could find two equal to those whom 
     the amendment would discard.*.*.* The difficulty of obtaining 
     men capable of conducting the affairs of a nation in 
     dangerous times, is much more serious than the gentlemen 
     imagine. Id. at 320-21 (speech of A. Hamilton).''
     Also note that, as Madison made clear in Federalist 63, the 
     purpose of the Senate was to provide stability and expertise: 
     ``Without a select and stable member of the government, the 
     esteem of foreign powers will not only be forfeited by an 
     unenlightened and variable policy, proceeding from the causes 
     already mentioned; but the national councils will not possess 
     that sensibility to the opinion of the world, which is 
     perhaps not less necessary in order to merit, than it is to 
     obtain, its respect and confidence. The Federalist No. 63, at 
     422 (J. Madison) (J. Cooke ed. 1961).''
     \19\Id. at 298 (speech of R. Harrison).
     \20\Id. at 320 (speech of A. Hamilton).
     \21\Note, Limits on Legislative Terms: Legal and Policy 
     Implications, 28 Harv. J. Legis. 569, 586-87 (1991). The 
     authoritative commentator on the Constitution, J. Story, 
     similarly concluded: ``the states have just as much right, 
     and no more, to prescribe new qualifications for a 
     representative, as they have for a president. Each is an 
     officer of the Union, deriving his powers and qualifications 
     from the Constitution, and neither created by, dependent 
     upon, nor controllable by, the states.'' J. Story, 
     Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 
     Sec. 626, at 101-102 (1970 ed.)''
  Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Citizen 
Legislature Act, the constitutional amendment to provide term limits 
for Members of Congress. This important plank of our Contract With 
America demonstrates that we are serious about keeping our word with 
the American people: to hold a first-ever vote on term limits on the 
House floor.
  Despite the tremendous changes in last November's elections, many 
Americans are still mistrustful of Congress. Many Americans believe 
that career legislators have too much power and too much at stake to 
make the tough decisions facing the Nation. I believe our Founding 
Fathers never intended for Member of Congress to be a career choice. 
Rather, they envisioned a system where people from all walks of life 
would become involved in public service for a few years, and then 
return to their profession or trade. Since coming to Congress in 1991, 
I have always known that I would return to the private sector, sooner 
rather than later.
  On the first day of the 104th Congress, I cosponsored both House 
Joint Resolution 2, the McCollum resolution, and House Joint Resolution 
3, the Inglis resolution. I did so because both of these resolutions 
were part of our Contract With America and I believed that it was part 
of my contract with California's 51st District to bring the term limits 
issue to the floor of the House.
  After a great deal of reflection, I have decided that the best 
alternative before the House is the McCollum amendment. Since. I began 
my public service, I have consistently stated that I believe a 12 year 
term limit is the most appropriate manner to address this question. The 
McCollum amendment, as embodied in House Joint Resolution 2, would mean 
a sweeping change in our political system, limiting House members to 
six terms and Senators to two terms.
  The McCollum amendment is fair and tough. It is fair in that it 
preserves the balance of power between the House and the Senate. It is 
fair because it treats all States equally. And make no mistake, it is 
tough. Under McCollum, those of my colleagues who have viewed Congress 
as a career are in for a surprise.
  I urge my colleagues to support the McCollum amendment and support 
term limits. We know that is what the American people demand. We should 
heed their call.
  Mr. BARRETT of Nebraska. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of limiting 
service in both the House and Senate to 12 years, albeit I will vote to 
do so with reservations.
  I'm proud that House Republicans have fulfilled yet another promise 
in the Contract With America by bringing--and I stress bringing--before 
the American public a fair debate about limiting the terms of Members 
of Congress.
  Our contract did not guarantee passage nor enactment of every item. 
Whether term limits pass on Thursday afternoon or not, this debate is a 
tribute to Speaker Gingrich, the Republican leadership, and to Mr. 
McCollum, and it is a check mark in the success column. I hope the 
media get that straight.
  I'm of the opinion that, as provided by our Founding Fathers, Members 
of Congress already serve limited terms--2 years in the House and 6 in 
the Senate--and that they can be dismissed by the voters at the end of 
those terms.
  As will be mentioned often in this debate, the 104th Congress is 
evidence to those term limits; 52 percent of the House is serving their 
third term or less. Overall, the average length of modern service is 
between six and seven terms. And looking at our average age, which 
falls just short of 51, it's obvious that most Members came to Congress 
after establishing themselves in the private sector.
  But the voters apparently aren't happy with these results, and in 
response to their demands, we're here debating further limiting 
congressional service.
  Understandably, voters are frustrated and dissatisfied with the 
performance of Congress--legislative gridlock, scandals of recent 
years, and the size and cost of Government are ample reasons to earn 
the voters disdain.
  We have also done our part to foster their contempt by our increasing 
tendency to legislate for the sound bite. I'm continually amazed how 
some Members find glory in despising and trashing the institution in 
which they have chosen to serve.
  In that respect, I am disappointed in this debate. Members on both 
sides have forgotten that honest men and women can disagree on an issue 
of such magnitude. And while we were sent here to represent our 
constituents' wishes, we were also elected to exercise some independent 
judgment and reasons on behalf of the Nation and her future. The Wall 
Street Journal chart on the editorial page March 28 was unfair and 
misleading in this regard to Members who oppose additional term limits.
  My home State of Nebraska is 1 of the 22 States that have voted to 
impose term limits on its congressional delegation. The issue was on 
the ballot in both 1992 and 1994, and my constituents knew both times 
that, while I would support certain term limits, I opposed the Nebraska 
ballot initiatives. My votes today and tomorrow will be fully 
consistent with that position.
  I agree with the constitutional experts who conclude that limiting 
congressional terms would require an amendment to the U.S. 
Constitution, and I expect the Supreme Court will later this spring or 
summer hold that term limits imposed by the States are invalid.
  And just as importantly, I believe it would upset any balance of 
power between the States to impose limits in a patch-work fashion. It 
would be unwise and detrimental to Nebraska's representation in 
Congress to impose additional term limits on its small five-member 
delegation when other States, especially those more populous, could 
decide to have no limits.
  Further, I believe firmly in the equality of the two Chambers 
established by our Founding Fathers. They improved upon the English 
model of an upper and lower House to establish Chambers of equal power, 
with one more deliberative and the other more responsive to the mood of 
the country.
  I can realistically look at this point in my life, and service in the 
House, and say that should 
 [[Page H3928]] additional term limits as now discussed be imposed, 
they will not have an impact on me. Therefore, it is with no self-
interest or self-preservation in mind that I say that there are serious 
drawbacks to term limits.
  And most certainly, I think it is a disservice to the electorate if 
these drawbacks are not thoroughly understood and part of the public 
debate. These include:
  Additional congressional term limits will limit the voters right to 
chose their representation. Term limits assume that new is always 
better and, unlike other vocations--and I am talking about the citizen 
legislator as a vocation--that experience does not make for a better 
legislator. Also, term limits would, without doubt, put much more power 
into the hands of nonelected congressional staff, bureaucrats, and 
special interest lobbyists. Those are not tired arguments, and they 
should not be dismissed out of hand.
  It is, at best, a toss up of whether term limits, had they been in 
place, would have solved the problems that have generated the public's 
frustration with Congress. Operational and procedural reforms in the 
institution of Congress itself--which we now have begun to accomplish 
under Republican leadership--and campaign finance reform are just two 
areas where directing our effort could make more certain and better 
  Having said all this, I will, as I stated at the beginning of these 
comments, vote to limit congressional service.
  I will vote to respect the will of the American people, who have 
given strong indication that additional term limits is their desire. 
I'll also exercise my personal judgment for the country, however, that 
anything less than 12 years is unrealistic, and the same limits must be 
imposed on both House Members and Senators from all 50 States.
  I urge my colleague to join me in voting for the McCollum 12-year 
  Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Chairman, the concept of term limits, while at 
least as old as our Government itself, has been repeatedly rejected by 
complacent Members of Congress whose tenures have lasted as long as 53 
years. Unfortunately for these career politicians, Congress can no 
longer ignore the Americans voter's profound and growing desire for a 
true citizen-legislature that is intended to serve the people in a 
better, more responsive manner. Since 1990, 22 States have imposed 
their own term limits, 21 through voter initiatives, and polls 
consistently show public support at as high as 80 percent. Though it is 
clear why career politicians do not wish to place limitations on 
themselves, it is time to obey the will of the American public. With 
much of the Contract With America completed, this is one more 
opportunity to show our commitment to those who elected us and to 
respond to the change they demanded on November 8. By passing term 
limits and putting the interests of our constituents before our own, we 
can institute the concept of the citizen-legislature that our Founding 
Fathers envisioned over 200 years ago.
  The CHAIRMAN. All time for general debate has expired. Pursuant to 
the rule, the joint resolution is considered as having been read.
  The text of House Joint Resolution 73 is as follows:

                              H.J. Res. 73

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of 
     each House concurring therein), That the following article is 
     proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United 

                              ``Article --

       ``Section 1. No person who has been elected for a full term 
     to the Senate two times shall be eligible for election or 
     appointment to the Senate. No person who has been elected for 
     a full term to the House of Representatives six times shall 
     be eligible for election to the House of Representatives.
       ``Section 2. No person who has served as a Senator for more 
     than three years of a term to which some other person was 
     elected shall subsequently be eligible for election to the 
     Senate more than once. No person who has served as a 
     Representative for more than one year shall subsequently be 
     eligible for election to the House of Representatives more 
     than five times.
       ``Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it 
     shall have been ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths 
     of the several States within seven years from the date of its 
     submission to the States by the Congress.
       ``Section 4. No election or service occurring before this 
     article becomes operative shall be taken into account when 
     determining eligibility for election under this article.''

  The CHAIRMAN. No amendments to the joint resolution are in order 
except the amendments specified in House Report 104-82, which shall be 
considered in the order specified in the report, may be offered only by 
the Member designated in the report, may be considered notwithstanding 
the adoption of a previous amendment in the nature of a substitute, is 
considered read, is debatable for 1 hour, equally divided and 
controlled by the proponent and an opponent of the amendment, and is 
not subject to amendment.
  If more than one amendment is adopted, only the one receiving the 
greater number of affirmative votes shall be considered as finally 
  In the case of a tie for the greater number of affirmative votes, 
only the last amendment to receive that number of affirmative votes 
shall be considered as finally adopted.
  The Chair, in addition, also announces that under rule XIV, clause 6, 
the proponent of each amendment made in order under the rule will have 
the right to close debate since the measure under consideration has 
been reported from the committee without a recommendation.
  It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 printed in House 
Report 104-82.
  Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute Offered by Mr. Peterson of 

  Mr. PETERSON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute.
  The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as 

       Amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Mr. 
     Peterson of Florida: Strike all after the resolving clause 
     and insert the following:

                              ``Article --

       ``Section 1. No person who has been elected to the Senate 
     two times shall be eligible for election or appointment to 
     the Senate. No person who has been elected to the House of 
     Representative six times shall be eligible for election to 
     the House of Representatives.
       ``Section 2. Election as a Senator or Representative before 
     this Article is ratified shall be taken into account for 
     purposes of section 1. Any State limitation on service for 
     Members of Congress from that State, whether enacted before, 
     on, or after the date of the ratification of this Article 
     shall be valid, if such limitation does not exceed the 
     limitation set forth in section 1.''.

  Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Peterson].
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Florida [Mr. 
Peterson] will be recognized for 30 minutes, and the gentlewoman from 
Florida [Mrs. Fowler] will be recognized for 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Peterson].
  Mr. PETERSON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I invite everyone to study 
closely the Peterson-Dingell amendment.
  As the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] so eloquently put it today, 
we see signs all over the Hill today saying, ``Term limits, yes.'' What 
they fail to say is, ``Term limits now.'' That is what this amendment 
is all about.
  I want to go back though through a lot of the general debate we had, 
a lot of people talking about what was the reason why we are doing term 
limits. I have my own thoughts on that, and may I relate that to my 
  Virtually every Member of this House has run against the House to get 
elected, as have all the candidates as well. We have had scandals 
galore, we have had gridlock, we have had personal attacks on this 
floor, and we have had, yes, unfair rules, and the people out there 
understand this. They understand that the sitting members are the ones 
that are accountable, and that is what this amendment is all about.
  My amendment is a 12-year limit, much like H.R. 73. It also allows a 
State preemption as long as they do not exceed the 12 years, and, as I 
say and repeat, it is the only amendment that has immediacy, 
retroactivity. It applies immediately upon the ratification of the 
amendment in the United States.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  (Mrs. FOWLER asked and was given permission to revise and extend her 
  Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this 
amendment. While I have the greatest respect for my fellow Floridian, I 
think his amendment is out of step with what the American people want.
  [[Page H3929]] The American people want term limits. They want them 
now. And they want them to apply to incumbents. And the three 
Republican-offered amendments do all of these things.
  Let me say that again: All three Republican-offered amendments apply 
to each and every one of us who are here now. They treat us no 
differently than any other person who might run for office--neither 
preferentially nor punitively. The term limits movement is not 
motivated by a desire to be punitive.
  Supporters of this amendment cite poll numbers that they claim show a 
majority of the American people support retroactive term limits.
  I say, let us look at the most accurate polling data--elections. 
Twenty-two States have put term limits questions on the ballot, and not 
one of them adopted retroactive term limits. Keep in mind, these were 
all citizen initiatives drafted by the people themselves. Only once--in 
Washington State--did anyone even try to impose retroactive limits, and 
that bill was soundly defeated. It appeared on the ballot the next year 
without retroactivity and passed. This amendment would force Washington 
State to make their term limits retroactive.
  Members should also know that this amendment is poorly drafted.
  The first part of section 2 declares that any prior service will 
count against the limit. In other words, it is retroactive.
  The very next sentence is the States rights clause, declaring that 
the amendment respects all the State laws.
  The problem is, as I mentioned earlier, not one of the States wanted 
retroactive term limits. Every single State term limits law was drafted 
specifically to be prospective.
  This amendment preempts the prospective nature of all 22 State term 
limits laws and forces them to accept retroactivity. All the while 
pretending to be respectful of States rights.
  The 22-State term limits laws are not identical. Some are 6-year 
limits on House Members, some are 8, some are 12. Some are lifetime 
bans, others are not. The one feature that is consistent through all 
the States is the prospective nature of their term limits laws. It is 
the one feature that this amendment seeks to undo.
  Members should feel comfortable rejecting this amendment based solely 
on its schizophrenic nature and poor drafting.
  Members should also keep in mind that we are hardly breaking new 
ground here. There is already a term limits amendment in the 
Constitution. The 22d amendment limits the President to two terms. That 
amendment states, ``this Article shall not apply to any person holding 
the office of President when this Article was proposed by the 
Congress.'' Not only did Congress reject the idea of retroactivity when 
it came to term limits for the President, but they actually went the 
other way and grandfathered the incumbent.
  Also keep in mind that article 1, section 9 of the Constitution 
states, ``No bill of attainder or ex post facto shall be passed.'' Any 
retroactive action violates the spirit of the Constitution itself.
  This amendment is offered and supported by the most vocal opponents 
of term limits.
  Every major proponent of term limits opposes the amendment--Mr. 
McCollum, Mr. Inglis, Mr. Hilleary, and myself. It is also opposed by 
grassroots supporters of term limits: the Term Limits Legal Institute, 
the Christian Coalition, Citizens Against Government Waste, the 
National Taxpayers Union, United We Stand, and the American 
Conservative Union.
  A vote for the Peterson-Dingell-Frank amendment is a vote against 
term limits. I urge Members to vote ``no'' and support any of the three 
real term limits amendments that will follow.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PETERSON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume for just a reply to my colleague the gentlewoman from 
  This is a real amendment. This is the toughest amendment. This 
affects every sitting House Member. This is a cop-out if anybody walks 
away from this.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to my friend, the gentleman from 
Michigan [Mr. Dingell].
  (Mr. DINGELL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, this is the real thing. I say to my 
colleagues, if you're for term limits, you're for this amendment. If 
you're not for this amendment, you're not for term limits.
  What this says is that term limits go into effect immediately upon 
the ratification of this amendment if the States act upon it. A large 
number of Members will depart. If that is the will of this body and the 
will of the people, then so be it. I, as the dean of the House, will be 
amongst the first to go. Many of my colleagues think that this is just 
fine because, ``It's not going to affect me in the immediate future.'' 
The answer to all of this is that immediately, upon the adoption of 
this amendment, if you have served your 12 years, you will be 
ineligible for reelection.
  A lot of people think that the people are in favor of term limits. If 
they, in fact, are in favor of term limits, they are in favor of this 
amendment because it is immediate, and the polls so show. If the 
Members are trying to identify whether people are angry with them, and 
with whom they are angry, and on whom they want term limits, my 
colleagues, it is upon you, it is upon me, and it is upon all of us 
because that is what the situation is.
  Let us reflect a bit on what we have:
  First of all, it will be 5 to 7 years before term limits are approved 
by the States. Then it will be an additional 6 years or an additional 
12 years. So we are now up to somewhere between 11 to 19 years before 
term limits will go into effect. The newest of the new Members will at 
the time that term limits have gone into effect have served probably as 
much as 20 years. During that time they would have achieved all of the 
emoluments of long-term service, and, if a Member who serves here for a 
long time is achieving some measure of corruption by having so done, 
they will become amongst the most corrupt then of the Members.
  Now here is again what happens with regard to term limits under the 
Contract With America:
  Years of service. At the time this goes into effect, instead of 
having served 40 years, I will serve 59 years. The gentleman from 
Georgia [Mr. Gingrich] under the McCollum-Hilleary amendment will have 
served 36 years, almost as long as I have served today. The gentleman 
from Missouri [Mr. Gephardt] 38 years; the gentleman from Texas [Mr. 
Armey] 30 years; the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Bonoir] 38 years; the 
gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Hilleary] and all of his class will have 
served 20 years. They will have achieved the status of old bulls. They 
will have served here a long time.
  Now I say to my colleagues, contemplate yourself going home and 
trying to explain to the people that you serve. ``I'm for term 
limits,'' you say, and they say, ``Hooray,'' but you don't tell them 
that you are for term limits which will begin somewhere between 13 and 
20 years from today. It's pretty hard to say that you are expecting 
that people are going to believe you if they know the facts as to 
whether you're really for term limits or opposed. The hard fact is, if 
you don't vote for the amendment which is cosponsored by the gentleman 
from Florida [Mr. Peterson], the gentleman from New York [Mr. Engel], 
the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Gutierrez], the gentleman from Texas 
[Mr. Barton], and I, you're voting for something which essentially is 
an illusion. It is, in fact, regrettably something which deceives the 
average person because you will never make a person believe that you 
are out to clean up a situation with which you say they find fault if 
you don't vote to make this of immediate effect.
  What this says is that immediately upon ratification term limits goes 
into effect. Under McCollum-Hilleary it will go in somewhere between 17 
and 19 years in the future, and under Inglis, somewhere between 11 and 
13 years. My counsel for my dear colleagues is, ``If you want to be 
judged fairly as having been somebody who believed in what you did and 
believed in what you said, 
 [[Page H3930]] vote for the Peterson-Dingell substitute, vote for a 
real honest limitation on term limits, and then go home and justify 
what you have done.''
  Mr. Speaker, George Santayana once said that, ``Fanaticism consists 
of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.'' This 
point seems particularly relevant today. You might recall that in 1947, 
a constitutional term limit on Presidents was ratified by a Republican 
Congress, which had been entrusted by the American people to make the 
difficult decisions necessary to move our Nation forward in the postwar 
era. In reality, the 22d amendment was a Republican attempt to get even 
with Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.
  Almost a half century later, we find a Republican Party still spooked 
by FDR's legacy, and 40 years of progress under a Democratic House. 
Showing a renowned lack of originality, they have dusted off term 
limits as part of their new agenda in the Contract With America, this 
time to limit the length of service for Members of Congress. I am 
pleased that, despite the inclusion of term limits in the contract, 
that this plank is in trouble because of opposition from Republicans 
and Democrats. These are Members on both sides of the aisle who share a 
faith in the ability of Americans to make up their own minds when they 
go to the polls.
  Those who charge that retroactive term limits are unfair may recall 
that President Truman was grandfathered from the 22d amendment. At the 
time, the Republicans did not want to appear too partisan by attacking 
  For them, the pleasure came in attacking his deceased predecessor--
who was elected to the Oval Office four times and is viewed by most 
historians as among our best Presidents. Despite the Republican special 
exemption given to President Truman, he limited his own service and 
chose not to run for reelection in 1952.
  In the spirit of this Truman exemption, the Republican leadership has 
presented us with four amendments under a closed rule. Three of these 
choices exempt the service of current Members of Congress, so that when 
this debate is over, the Speaker will have the chance to serve almost 
as long as I have. This is because under the main amendment, it could 
take another 19 years before any constitutional amendment would 
completely remove current Members of the House.
  Mr. Speaker, beside me is a partial list of current Members who would 
be forced into retirement the Peterson-Dingell amendment were ratified 
by the States today. As you can easily see, it limits all sorts of 
people from both side of the aisle.
  To give a little more perspective, in 2014, that would give me just 
over 59 years of service--if I run and the people of Michigan's 16th 
Congressional District so choose. The Speaker would have 36 years under 
his belt, although not all of those could be as Speaker, since under 
the new House rules, he is under a self-imposed term limit of four 
consecutive terms that will force him to leave the Speakership for a 2-
year sabbatical every 8 years.
  Santayana also observed that those who fail to learn from history are 
condemned to repeat it. Today's debate fulfills that prophecy. When one 
examines the history of the Presidential term limit. Moreover, only two 
Presidents--Republicans--have found themselves constrained by it, and 
the Republicans sought vigorously to find away around it for the patron 
saint of their party, President Reagan.
  One of the major arguments for adopting a term limits constitutional 
amendment is because its popular. We have been bombarded by reports in 
the press that up to four out of five Americans wants term limits. If 
any of my colleagues are basing today's decision on popular opinion 
polls, I feel it is my duty to inform you of one fact: that same 
majority wants congressional limits applied to you.
  Only the Peterson-Dingell amendment gives Members a chance to avoid 
the charge of hypocrisy by addressing immediacy; in other words, the 
immediate application of all time served by sitting Members of the 
House and Senate. The Peterson-Dingell amendment is simple: apply to 
yourself that which you would apply to others. Under the amendment, all 
service counts, whether you're in your first term or your 20th term. In 
the 104th Congress, this means that 157 House Members would be 
ineligible to run for another term if Peterson-Dingell were ratified 
today. A list of those Members is available for those who wish to 
consult it. In addition, 67 Senators could never again run for the U.S. 
Senate under the Peterson-Dingell amendment.
  As some of your might guess, I must confess that Senate term limits 
would trouble me quite a bit less than House term limits.
  It was expressed in earlier debate that Peterson-Dingell might lead 
to a very disorderly transfer of power. However, a look at recent 
history shows that chaos is unlikely. In fact, the House has just 
completed a transfer of power between the parties, and the Republic is 
still in tact. In 1993, 11 freshman Members took seats in the 103d 
Congress. So 157 retirements would not be devastating on a numerical 
basis. As I have long stated, the loss would be in terms of legislative 
experience which would empower bureaucrats, lobbyists, and 
congressional staff to make decisions made today by all of us, who are 
held accountable by the people every 2 years.
  It's no secret. I oppose term limits. Why? Because I believe in the 
power of democracy, the sanctity of the ballot box, and most of all, 
the ability of voters to decide for themselves who will best represent 
them. I am joined by like-minded people from both sides of the aisle, 
Republicans and Democrats who understand that term limits would imperil 
democracy. However, if in a rush for results, we decide to impose 
congressional term limits to address problems better solved through 
meaningful campaign finance reform, we have a duty to approve a 
constitutional amendment which is free from hypocrisy. The other 
amendments cast a shroud of self-interest over the Constitution. There 
is only one amendment which puts truth in term limits. Vote only for