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105th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                      105-2
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                  CONGRESSIONAL TERM LIMITS AMENDMENT

                                _______
                                

February 6, 1997.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


 Mr. Canady of Florida, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                    ADDITIONAL AND DISSENTING VIEWS

                       [To accompany H.J. Res. 2]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
joint resolution (H.J. Res. 2) 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, having considered the same, report without 
recommendation.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Vote of the Committee............................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     8
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Findings............     8
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     9
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     9
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     9
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    10
Additional Views of Hon. Henry J. Hyde...........................    11
Additional Views of Hon. Asa Hutchinson..........................    14
Additional Views of Hon. Martin Meehan...........................    17
Dissenting Views.................................................    19

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.J. Res. 2 proposes to amend the Constitution of the 
United States to limit the number of terms of office of members 
of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Under the 
proposed amendment, Senators would be limited to no more than 
two full terms (12 years) and House members limited to service 
for no more than six terms (12 years).

                 BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE AMENDMENT

    Beginning in 1990, advocates of term limits sought to 
impose limits on the number of terms that a member of the U.S. 
House or Senate could serve by changing state laws, amending 
state constitutions and passing state ballot initiatives. By 
1995, 23 states had passed laws or ballot initiatives limiting 
the terms of Members of Congress.
    In 1994, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, 
as part of their ``Contract with America'' promised to hold the 
first ever House vote on term limits.\1\ On March 29, 1995, the 
House voted on a number of proposals to limit the terms of 
Members of Congress, but no measure received the necessary two-
thirds approval. The proposal to limit House members to six 
terms (12 years) and Senators to two terms (12 years) received 
the most votes (227-204). In October of 1995, the Senate failed 
to approve a non-binding ``Sense of the Senate'' resolution 
amendment to limit terms.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Republicans also proposed, and the House adopted, changes to 
the rules of the House which limit service of the Speaker to four 
consecutive congresses (Rule I, clause 7(b)), and Committee and 
Subcommittee Chairs to three consecutive congresses (House Rule X, 
clause 6(c)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton

    When the House last voted on this issue there was some 
question as to whether states had the authority to impose term 
limits or whether a constitutional amendment was necessary. 
That question was answered on May 22, 1995, when the U.S. 
Supreme Court in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, 115 S. Ct. 1842 
(1995) invalidated an Arkansas law and the laws of the twenty-
two other states that had sought to place limits on the number 
of terms that could be served by Members of the House and 
Senate. Citing Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486 (1969), the 
Court ruled that because the qualifications for membership in 
the House and Senate set forth in Article I of the United 
States Constitution are ``fixed,'' neither Congress or the 
States could impose additional requirements.\2\ Supporters of 
the Arkansas law argued that it was valid exercise of state 
power because it was not an absolute bar to seeking election to 
the House or Senate--Members who had served for more than the 
prescribed number of terms could still appear on the ballot as 
write-in candidates. The Court rejected this argument finding 
that the Arkansas law was an ``indirect attempt to accomplish 
what the Constitution prohibits Arkansas from accomplishing 
directly.'' U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, 115 S. Ct. 1867 
(1995). The Court made clear that the only way to secure limits 
on the terms of Congressional service was to amend the United 
States Constitution pursuant to the procedures set forth in 
Article V.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Article I, Section 2, Clause 2 provides, ``No Person shall be a 
Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty-five 
years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who 
shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he 
shall be chosen.'' Likewise, Clause 3 of Section 3 sets forth the 
requirements for membership in the United States Senate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

State efforts after Thornton

    Subsequent to the Supreme Court's ruling in Thornton, some 
advocates of term limits have sought to pressure Members of 
Congress and state legislators to utilize the procedures of 
Article V of the U.S. Constitution to amend that document to 
impose a six year limit on service in the House and a twelve 
year limit on service in the Senate.\3\ On November 5, 1996, 
voters in 14 states were asked to decide on ballot initiatives 
instructing federal legislators to support an amendment 
limiting House Members to three terms and Senators to two 
terms.\4\ If the federal legislators failed to support such an 
amendment or voted in favor of an amendment allowing for longer 
terms of service, they would have printed next to their names 
at the next election, ``disregarded voter instruction on term 
limits.'' \5\ In most of the states, the initiative also 
included language instructing state legislators to vote for 
application to Congress to call a convention for proposing 
amendments to the Constitution.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ Similar efforts were undertaken on the state level to secure 
the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States 
Constitution which provided for the direct election of Senators by the 
people of each state. See, ``Term Limits for Members of Congress: State 
Activity,'' a CRS Report for Congress by Sula P. Richardson, November 
22, 1996, No. 96-152 GOV.
    \4\ The states were: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, 
Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, 
Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The initiative was approved in the 
first nine states and rejected in the last five.
    \5\ Although the constitutional amendments proposed in the state 
ballot initiatives all call for a limit of three terms in the House and 
two terms in the Senate, none of the versions is identical. In 
addition, the ``voter instruction'' to Members of Congress differs from 
state to state.
    \6\ In Missouri and South Dakota, the initiatives provided 
instructions only for federal legislators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prior to adoption of the ballot initiative in the state of 
Arkansas, a lawsuit was brought challenging the initiative, 
known as Amendment 9.\7\ On October 21, 1996, in Donovan v. 
Priest, 326 Ark. 353, 931 S.W. 2nd 119 (1996), stay granted, 
117 S. Ct. 380 (1996), petition for cert. filed sub nom. 
Arkansas Term Limits v. Donovan, 65 U.S.L.W. 3473 (U.S. Jan. 7, 
1997) (No. 96-919), the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down 
Amendment 9, holding that it violated Article V of the United 
States Constitution because it was an indirect means to propose 
an amendment to the United States Constitution. Supporters of 
placing the initiative on the ballot argued that it merely 
served to notify legislators of the desire of the people of 
their state to enact a constitutional amendment to limit the 
terms of members. The Court rejected the argument that the 
initiative was a ``mere advisory referendum.'' The Court 
further stated:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ A lawsuit challenging the placement of a similar initiative on 
the ballot was filed in Oklahoma. In In re: Initiative Petition No. 
364, 1996 Okla. LEXIS 144 (opinion filed December 10, 1996), the 
Supreme Court of Oklahoma would not allow the initiative to be placed 
on the ballot for submission to the people because it violated the 
Constitutions of Oklahoma and the United States.

        [The proposed Amendment 9] is an indirect attempt to 
        propose an amendment to the United States Constitution, 
        and as such violates the narrow, specific grants of 
        authority provided in Article V. The proposed Amendment 
        9 would virtually tie the hands of the individual 
        members of the General Assembly such that they would no 
        longer be part of a deliberative body acting 
        independently in exercising their individual best 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        judgments on every issue. 326 Ark. 353 at 371.

    On November 2, 1996, just three days prior to the election, 
the U.S. Supreme Court suspended the order of the Arkansas 
Supreme Court. A petition for certiorari is currently pending 
before the United States Supreme Court.

                                HEARINGS

    The Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution held one 
day of hearings on the issue of ``Limiting Terms of Office for 
Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives'' 
on January 22, 1997. Testimony was received from eleven 
witnesses: U.S. Senator Fred Thompson; Representative Bill 
McCollum; Representative John Dingell; Representative Tillie 
Fowler; Representative Joe Barton; George Will, Nationally 
Syndicated Columnist and Television Commentator; John Hibbing, 
Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; 
Congressman Bill Frenzel, Guest Scholar, The Brookings 
Institution; Paul Jacob, Executive Director, U.S. Term Limits; 
Thomas Mann, Director, Governmental Studies Program, The 
Brookings Institution; Cleta Mitchell, Director and General 
Counsel, Americans Back In Charge.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On February 4, 1997, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported the resolution H.J. Res. 2, without 
recommendation, by a recorded vote of 19 to 12, a quorum being 
present.

                          VOTE OF THE COMMITTEE

    1. Mr. Frank offered an amendment to take into account 
elections or service occurring prior to the amendment becoming 
operative when determining eligibility for elections. The 
amendment was defeated by a 13-17 rollcall vote.

Rollcall vote No. 1

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Coble                           Mr. Hyde
Mr. Schiff                          Mr. McCollum
Mr. Chabot                          Mr. Gekas
Mr. Conyers                         Mr. Smith (TX)
Mr. Frank                           Mr. Canady
Mr. Berman                          Mr. Inglis
Mr. Boucher                         Mr. Goodlatte
Mr. Scott                           Mr. Buyer
Mr. Watt                            Mr. Bono
Ms. Lofgren                         Mr. Bryant
Ms. Jackson Lee                     Mr. Barr
Mr. Delahunt                        Mr. Jenkins
Mr. Wexler                          Mr. Hutchinson
                                    Mr. Pease
                                    Mr. Cannon
                                    Mr. Nadler
                                    Mr. Rothman

    2. An amendment by Mr. Frank to limit U.S. Senators to no 
more than one full term in office to Mr. Inglis' amendment to 
limit U.S. Senators to no more than two full terms in office 
and U.S. Representatives to no more than three full terms in 
the House. The amendment was defeated by a 12-16 rollcall vote.

Rollcall vote No. 2

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Coble                           Mr. Hyde
Mr. Schiff                          Mr. McCollum
Mr. Frank                           Mr. Gekas
Mr. Berman                          Mr. Smith (TX)
Mr. Nadler                          Mr. Canady
Mr. Scott                           Mr. Inglis
Mr. Watt                            Mr. Goodlatte
Ms. Lofgren                         Mr. Buyer
Ms. Jackson Lee                     Mr. Bono
Ms. Waters                          Mr. Bryant
Mr. Delahunt                        Mr. Chabot
Mr. Wexler                          Mr. Barr
                                    Mr. Jenkins
                                    Mr. Hutchinson
                                    Mr. Pease
                                    Mr. Rothman

    3. An amendment by Mr. Inglis to limit U.S. Senators to no 
more than two full terms in office and U.S. Representatives to 
no more than three full terms in the House. The amendment was 
defeated by a 4-24 rollcall vote (2 voting present).

Rollcall vote No. 3

                                                                        
        AYES                  NAYS                    PRESENT           
                                                                        
Mr. Coble             Mr. McCollum         Mr. Hyde                     
Mr. Inglis            Mr. Gekas            Mr. Frank                    
Mr. Bono              Mr. Smith (TX)                                    
Mr. Chabot            Mr. Schiff                                        
                      Mr. Canady                                        
                      Mr. Goodlatte                                     
                      Mr. Buyer                                         
                      Mr. Bryant                                        
                      Mr. Barr                                          
                      Mr. Jenkins                                       
                      Mr. Hutchinson                                    
                      Mr. Pease                                         
                      Mr. Conyers                                       
                      Mr. Berman                                        
                      Mr. Boucher                                       
                      Mr. Nadler                                        
                      Mr. Scott                                         
                      Mr. Watt                                          
                      Ms. Lofgren                                       
                      Ms. Jackson Lee                                   
                      Ms. Waters                                        
                      Mr. Delahunt                                      
                      Mr. Wexler                                        
                      Mr. Rothman                                       
                                                                        
                                                                        

    4. An amendment by Mr. Scott to allow a state to enact a 
term limit less than that provided in the amendment. The 
amendment was defeated by a 13-15 rollcall vote.

Rollcall vote No. 4

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Schiff                          Mr. Hyde
Mr. Inglis                          Mr. McCollum
Mr. Bono                            Mr. Gekas
Mr. Chabot                          Mr. Smith (TX)
Mr. Frank                           Mr. Canady
Mr. Berman                          Mr. Goodlatte
Mr. Boucher                         Mr. Buyer
Mr. Scott                           Mr. Bryant
Ms. Lofgren                         Mr. Barr
Ms. Jackson Lee                     Mr. Jenkins
Ms. Waters                          Mr. Hutchinson
Mr. Delahunt                        Mr. Pease
Mr. Wexler                          Mr. Nadler
                                    Mr. Watt
                                    Mr. Rothman

    5. An amendment by Mr. Hutchinson to limit U.S. 
Representatives to no more than three terms in the House and 
U.S. Senators to no more than two terms in the Senate. The 
amendment was defeated by a 3-25 rollcall vote (2 voting 
present).

Rollcall vote No. 5

                                                                        
        AYES                  NAYS                    PRESENT           
                                                                        
Mr. Inglis            Mr. Hyde             Mr. Frank                    
Mr. Chabot            Mr. McCollum         Ms. Lofgren                  
Mr. Hutchinson        Mr. Gekas                                         
                      Mr. Coble                                         
                      Mr. Smith (TX)                                    
                      Mr. Schiff                                        
                      Mr. Gallegly                                      
                      Mr. Canady                                        
                      Mr. Goodlatte                                     
                      Mr. Buyer                                         
                      Mr. Bono                                          
                      Mr. Bryant                                        
                      Mr. Barr                                          
                      Mr. Jenkins                                       
                      Mr. Pease                                         
                      Mr. Schumer                                       
                      Mr. Boucher                                       
                      Mr. Nadler                                        
                      Mr. Scott                                         
                      Mr. Watt                                          
                      Ms. Jackson Lee                                   
                      Ms. Waters                                        
                      Mr. Delahunt                                      
                      Mr. Wexler                                        
                      Mr. Rothman                                       
                                                                        

    6. An amendment by Mr. Nadler to allow members of the House 
or Senate who have served twelve consecutive years to again be 
eligible for election or appointment if they sit out at least 
one full term. The amendment was defeated by a 11-19 rollcall 
vote.

Rollcall vote No. 6

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Smith                           Mr. Hyde
Mr. Goodlatte                       Mr. McCollum
Mr. Frank                           Mr. Gekas
Mr. Schumer                         Mr. Coble
Mr. Boucher                         Mr. Schiff
Mr. Nadler                          Mr. Gallegly
Mr. Scott                           Mr. Canady
Ms. Lofgren                         Mr. Inglis
Ms. Jackson Lee                     Mr. Buyer
Mr. Delahunt                        Mr. Bono
Mr. Wexler                          Mr. Bryant
                                    Mr. Chabot
                                    Mr. Barr
                                    Mr. Jenkins
                                    Mr. Hutchinson
                                    Mr. Pease
                                    Mr. Cannon
                                    Mr. Watt
                                    Mr. Rothman

    7. An amendment by Ms. Jackson Lee to allow states to 
prescribe the maximum number of terms to which a person may be 
elected or appointed to the Senate or elected to the House. The 
amendment was defeated by a 7-22 rollcall vote.

Rollcall vote No. 7

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Frank                           Mr. Hyde
Mr. Schumer                         Mr. McCollum
Mr. Nadler                          Mr. Gekas
Mr. Scott                           Mr. Coble
Ms. Lofgren                         Mr. Smith (TX)
Ms. Jackson Lee                     Mr. Schiff
Mr. Delahunt                        Mr. Gallegly
                                    Mr. Canady
                                    Mr. Inglis
                                    Mr. Goodlatte
                                    Mr. Buyer
                                    Mr. Bono
                                    Mr. Bryant
                                    Mr. Chabot
                                    Mr. Barr
                                    Mr. Jenkins
                                    Mr. Hutchinson
                                    Mr. Pease
                                    Mr. Cannon
                                    Mr. Watt
                                    Mr. Wexler
                                    Mr. Rothman

    8. Motion to Report H.J. Res. 2 without recommendation. The 
motion was agreed to by a 19-12 rollcall vote.

Rollcall vote No. 8

        AYES                          NAYS
Mr. Hyde                            Mr. Hutchinson
Mr. McCollum                        Mr. Frank
Mr. Gekas                           Mr. Schumer
Mr. Coble                           Mr. Berman
Mr. Smith (TX)                      Mr. Boucher
Mr. Schiff                          Mr. Nadler
Mr. Gallegly                        Mr. Scott
Mr. Canady                          Mr. Watt
Mr. Inglis                          Ms. Lofgren
Mr. Goodlatte                       Ms. Jackson Lee
Mr. Buyer                           Mr. Delahunt
Mr. Bono                            Mr. Rothman
Mr. Bryant
Mr. Chabot
Mr. Barr
Mr. Jenkins
Mr. Pease
Mr. Cannon
Mr. Wexler

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports 
that the findings and recommendations of the Committee, based 
on oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

         COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    No findings or recommendations of the Committee on 
Government Reform and Oversight were received as referred to in 
clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    Clause 2(l)(3)(B) of House Rule XI is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(C) of Rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets 
forth, with respect to the resolution, H.J. Res. 2, the 
following estimate and comparison prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office under section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, February 5, 1997.
Hon. Henry J. Hyde,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.J. Res. 2, a joint 
resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to limit 
Congressional terms.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

H.J. Res. 2--A joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to 
        limit congressional terms

    H.J. Res. 2 would propose amending the Constitution to 
limit the service of Members of Congress to no more than twelve 
years. The amendment would apply only to service occurring 
after it takes effect. The legislatures of three-fourths of the 
states would be required to ratify the proposed amendment 
within seven years for the amendment to become effective.
    CBO estimates that enacting this resolution would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. H.J. Res. 2 would not 
affect direct spending or receipts, so there would be no pay-
as-you-go scoring under section 252 of the Balanced Budget and 
Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. This legislation 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Pursuant to Rule XI, clause 2(l)(4) of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in Article V of the Constitution which 
provides that the Congress has authority to propose amendments 
to the Constitution.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1

    Section 1 sets forth the limitations on eligibility for 
service for members of the United States Senate and House of 
Representatives. A person who has been elected to the Senate 
for two full terms shall not thereafter be eligible for 
election or appointment to the Senate. In addition, a person 
who has been elected for six full, terms to the House of 
Representatives shall not thereafter be eligible for election.

Section 2

    For the purpose of considering elections which count toward 
the relevant limit, Section 2 provides that a person who has 
served as a Senator for more than three years of a term to 
which some other person was elected shall be eligible for 
election to the Senate more than once and that no person who 
has served as a Representative for more than one year shall be 
eligible for election to the House more than five times. This 
section will ensure that no member will be permitted to serve 
beyond the 12-year limit in the House or the Senate because the 
member is serving the remainder of a term (either through 
election in the House or election or appointment in the 
Senate).

Section 3

    This section sets a seven-year limit on ratification of the 
amendment from the time it is submitted to the states by the 
Congress. Pursuant to Article V of the United States 
Constitution, the amendment must be ratified by three-fourths 
of the state legislatures.

Section 4

    This section makes clear that elections or service 
occurring prior to ratification by three-fourths of the states 
shall not be counted when determining eligibility for election. 
Although the amendment, if ratified by three-fourths of the 
states, will apply to sitting members of Congress, elections 
and service of those members prior to the date the amendment 
takes effect will not count in determining future eligibility 
for election.
                 ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF HON. HENRY J. HYDE

    For the second time in two years, I have voted to report 
the House Joint Resolution on term limits from committee 
without recommendation. I believe the issue of term limitations 
for members of the United States Congress should be the subject 
of vigorous debate on the House floor because of its far-
reaching implications. However, I again repeat my opposition to 
an idea which was rejected by some of the wisest men in our 
nation's history--the framers of the United States 
Constitution.
    The U.S. Constitution provides that Members of the House of 
Representatives shall be ``chosen every second year'' 1 
and that Members of the Senate shall be ``elected by the people 
thereof, for six years. * * *'' 2 As a practical matter, 
each time voters go to the polls, they decide whether they 
should limit the term of their elected representatives. We 
already have term limits--they are called elections. The nation 
found this to be truer than ever before in the 1994 general 
election when, without arbitrary limits built into the 
Constitution, membership turnover was vastly accelerated and 40 
years of one-party rule came to an end in the House of 
Representatives.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     1  U.S. Const. art. I, Sec. 2, cl. 1.
     2  U.S. Const. amend. XVII.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The average length of service for House Members in the 
105th Congress is only 8 years, and the median length of 
service for House Members is 4 years. Just as striking are the 
figures for the Senate in the 105th Congress. The average 
length of service for Senators is 10 years, and the median 
length of service in the Senate is 8 years. I submit that these 
figures weaken the argument for term limits. The 8 and 10 year 
averages for the House and Senate fall below the artificial 
term limits that proponents advocate--12 years for the House 
and 12 years for the Senate. Additionally, since half of the 
House Members have served for 4 or fewer years, and half of the 
Senators have served 8 or fewer years, can anyone really say 
that Members of Congress have been around too long?
    As Professor Charles Kesler has noted, term limits act as a 
diversion to the real problems currently facing Members of 
Congress, which include the need to continue reconsidering the 
scope and power of the federal government, and opposing the 
extension of centralized administration over more and more of 
American life. 3
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     3  Charles Kesler, ``Bad Housekeeping: The Case Against 
Congressional Term Limitations'', Policy Review (Summer, 1990).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In my view, term limits is a device for restraining the 
electorate rather than restraining the Congress. This sentiment 
was best expressed by Robert R. Livingston during the New York 
debates on adoption of the Federal Constitution with respect to 
the issue of ``rotation in office'':

          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 of public virtue--the hope 
        of honors and rewards. The acquisitions 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 abridgement of the people's rights. 4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     4  2 Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of 
the Federal Constitution 292-293 (J.Elliot ed., 1988) (speech of R. 
Livingston).

    Indeed, although the principle of ``rotation in office'' 
was a part of the Articles of Confederation, it was 
subsequently rejected by the members of the Constitutional 
Convention. 5
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     5  Art. of Confed. art. V, cl. 2. The Committee of the Whole of 
the Constitutional Convention considered the question of term limits 
for the legislature on June 12, 1787. See, Max Farrand, ed., ``The 
Records of the Federal Convention of 1787'' (1911; New Haven, Conn.: 
Yale University Press, 1966), vol. 1, p. 210.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In what other life occupations does the American public 
demand amateurs? When the drill in the dentist's hand begins 
whirring, I want someone who has years of experience. Why 
should the American people have imposed upon them a system of 
government that demands amateurs? Such a system would only 
force good people, serving their country, out of the Congress, 
depriving the nation of experience and talent, and of critical 
individual and institutional memory in negotiating issues such 
as war and peace. I believe that the complexity of today's 
modern world calls for ``professionalism'' and expertise in the 
realm of government no less than in other spheres of our 
society. Do we really want to disqualify all those who can 
bring sound judgment born of years of experience to the 
increasingly demanding tasks of elected office?
    While it is still too early to draw definitive conclusions 
from the experience of the 20 states whose state legislators 
are now term limited, several trends have emerged. It seems 
that term limits may increase turnover, strengthen executives, 
shift power from lower to upper chambers (which tend to have 
longer terms), heighten partisan conflict, and increase the 
power and influence of lobbyists, unelected staff members, and 
the permanent bureaucracy.
    Members who are term limited in their final term or next to 
last final term may not always be responsive to their 
constituents needs or exercise their best judgment on their 
constituents' behalf. After 6 or 12 years in Congress, members 
may not have employment to which they can return. No longer do 
we live in an age where citizen legislators can return home as 
gentlemen farmers after a brief stint in the Congress. The 
search for post-employment may not serve the best interests of 
the voters. Indeed, in reference to term limits, Hamilton 
maintained that:

        no government, founded on this feeble principle, can 
        operate well, for when a man knows he must quit his 
        station, let his merit be what it may, he will turn his 
        attentions chiefly to his own emolument: nay, he will 
        feel temptations, which few other situations furnish, 
        to perpetuate his power by unconstitutional 
        usurpations. 6
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ 2 Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of 
the Federal Constitution 320 (J. Elliot ed., 1988) (Speech of A. 
Hamilton).

A term limits amendment cannot repeal human nature.
    Let us continue to have an open, honest, and vigorous 
debate on a term limits amendment to the Constitution. But make 
no mistake. Term limits would, in my view, serve to further 
weaken the first branch of our federal government by making 
government not more accountable as the proponents of term 
limits envision, but producing a government which is much less 
accountable.
    I pose one simple question to the supporters of arbitrary 
term limits. What is the difference between telling a person 
for whom he must vote as opposed to telling a person for whom 
he cannot vote? In each of these situations, the ``system'' 
distrusts the voter to make an independent decision to elect 
the right person to represent his district and govern the 
country. To that end, term limits represent a cynical and 
radical distrust of democracy. I vehemently disagree with this 
distrust of the American people. For the sake of our 
representative democracy, term limits should be rejected. My 
advice to those who support term limits is simple: trust the 
people.

                                                        Henry Hyde.
           ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF REPRESENTATIVE ASA HUTCHINSON

    I voted against H.J. Res. 2, not because I am opposed to 
term limits, but because this particular resolution does not 
comply with the term limit instructions approved by a vote of 
the people of Arkansas.
    On November 5, 1996, the voters of Arkansas overwhelmingly 
approved a ballot initiative setting forth the exact text of a 
proposed constitutional amendment limiting Members of the 
United States House of Representatives to three two-year terms 
(for a total of six years of service) and Members of the Senate 
to two six-year terms (for a total of twelve years of service). 
Under this initiative, a Member of Congress is instructed to 
support the exact provisions spelled out in the initiative and 
to vote against any other inconsistent proposal. Out of respect 
for the voters of Arkansas, I voted against H.J. Res. 2.
    During the committee mark up I offered the exact text of 
the Arkansas voter initiative as set forth in subsection (e) of 
the petition. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass. 
However, I think it is important to point out the differences 
between the Arkansas term limits proposal and the various 
versions offered during committee consideration--all of which I 
opposed.
H.J. Res. 2
    H.J. Res. 2 sets uniform terms of twelve years for both the 
House and the Senate. This resolution violates Arkansas law as 
the Arkansas amendment limits members of the House to six years 
of service. I voted against the resolution.
Retroactivity
    An amendment offered by Congressman Barney Frank would have 
retroactively applied the term limit set forth in H.J. Res. 2. 
I voted against the amendment as the Arkansas law is not fully 
retroactive. Under the law, those serving at the time the 
amendment is ratified who have already served six years may 
serve for an additional four years.
Six year tenure for Senators
    An amendment offered by Congressman Barney Frank would have 
reduced the term of service for Members of the Senate from 
twelve years to six years. I voted against the amendment as 
Arkansas law calls for a twelve year term of service for U.S. 
Senators.
Inglis Substitute
    An amendment offered by Congressman Bob Inglis would have 
set limits of three terms for Members of the House and two 
terms for Members of the Senate. While the general concept of 
the Inglis amendment is in accordance with the Arkansas ballot 
initiative, the wording is very different. For example, the 
Inglis proposal applies only prospectively. In other words, it 
is not retroactive. While the Arkansas law is not fully 
retroactive, it does limit the service of members who have 
already served three terms. Under the law, those serving at the 
time the amendment is ratified who have already served six 
years may serve for only four additional years. Under the 
Inglis proposal, these members could serve another six years.
Allowing States to set their own limits within certain parameters
    An amendment offered by Congressman Bobby Scott would have 
allowed states to set their own term limits within a twelve 
year range. In other words, states would be able to set a limit 
of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 
eleven, or twelve years. I voted against this proposal since 
the Arkansas law specifically calls for a six year limit in the 
House and a twelve year limit in the Senate.
Breaks in service
    An amendment offered by Congressman Jerrold Nadler would 
have allowed term-limited members to return to congressional 
service for an additional twelve years after a break in 
service. I voted against this amendment since the Arkansas law 
calls for a six year term in the House and provides that term-
limited members who leave Congress and return again may serve 
only two additional terms.
Allowing States to set their own limits
    An amendment offered by Congresswoman Jackson-Lee would 
have allowed states to set their own term limits. I voted 
against this amendment since it is in direct violation of 
Arkansas law, which calls for a six year term for Members of 
the House and a twelve year limit for Members of the Senate.
    I am a long supporter of term limits and have been an 
active defender of a state's right to enact term limits for its 
elected officials. In 1993, I argued for the constitutionality 
of the 1992 Arkansas term limits law at the state court level 
and in 1995, I was a litigant before the United States Supreme 
Court.
    I had hoped that as a new Member of Congress I would have 
been able to vote in favor of all term limits proposals. 
However, I am committed to the version of term limits approved 
by the voters of Arkansas and consistent with their request, I 
will continue to oppose any term limit amendment that does not 
reflect the exact language of the Arkansas law.
    For the record, I am including the text of the version of 
the term limits amendment which I offered at the full 
committee, which is hereto attached.

    Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the 
following:

That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all 
intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified 
by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

                 ``Congressional Term Limits Amendment

    ``Section A. No person shall serve in the office of United 
States Representative for more than three terms, but upon 
ratification of the Congressional Term Limits Amendment no 
person who has held the office of United States Representative 
or who then holds the office shall serve for more than two 
additional terms.
    ``Section B. No person shall serve in the office of United 
States Senator for more than two terms, but upon ratification 
of the Congressional Term Limits Amendment no person who has 
held the office of United States Senator or who then holds the 
office shall serve more than one additional term.
    ``Section C. This article shall have no time limit within 
which it must be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths 
of the several states.''.

                                                    Asa Hutchinson.
                 ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF HON. MARTIN MEEHAN

    I am writing separately to emphasize that although I 
support term limits, I do not believe that term limits alone 
will address certain fundamental problems afflicting our 
political system today.
    I support term limits because of my frustration with our 
current political discourse. For fear of alienating a 
supposedly immature electorate, many of our most dedicated and 
intelligent public servants will not dare to discuss issues of 
pressing national importance, such as how we shall deal with 
burgeoning Social Security costs due to the impending 
retirement of the ``baby boomers.'' In turn, the electorate, 
which is in fact quite willing to grapple with difficult 
issues, becomes increasingly disgusted with political debate 
consisting almost entirely of dueling ``sound bites'' and thus 
stays home from the polls in record numbers. By setting a fixed 
end-point to Congressional careers, term limits would encourage 
members of Congress to reflect early on in their tenure about 
the legislative legacies they wish to leave, rather than merely 
about doing what it supposedly takes to get reelected. 
Hopefully, that sort of reflection would result in a greater 
willingness to tackle entitlement reform, among other touchy 
but important issues. Similarly, I support term limits because 
they would deal a crushing and permanent blow to the seniority 
system in the House and Senate, which allocates committee 
leadership positions on the basis of one's length of service in 
Congress. I believe that the public would be better served were 
leadership assignments based on merit rather than seniority.
    Of course, it is imperative that a constitutional amendment 
limiting Congressional terms include service in Congress prior 
to the amendment's adoption in determining a legislator's 
eligibility for future service. We cannot realistically expect 
a term limits amendment which ``grandfathers'' the prior 
service of current members, many of whom claim to support term 
limits, to restore the public's faith in Congress. The public 
would instead view this undeserved exemption as an unparalled 
instance of hypocrisy on the part of an institution whose 
opinion polls are already in the cellar. Indeed, I do not 
understand how the permanent demise of the seniority system 
would be furthered by allowing long-serving members to retain 
their leadership positions for another twelve years beyond the 
amount of time it would take three-fourths of the states to 
ratify a term limits amendment.
    Furthermore, I do not believe that term limits alone will 
suffice to make every election cycle more competitive. For the 
ten years during which they would be eligible to run for 
reelection under H.J. Res. 2, incumbents would still be magnets 
for lobbyist dollars, because only they could cast meaningful 
votes on the future of programs dear to organized 
constituencies. Incumbents would also continue to dominate 
media coverage, not only because they are usually able to raise 
more money than challengers to pay for campaign commercials, 
but also because their actions as legislators will inevitably 
be the subject of nightly news programs and daily newspaper 
stories throughout their tenures. And term limits would do 
nothing to eliminate the franking privilege available to 
members of Congress, which enables them to communicate their 
opinions to constituents in an unchallenged format. Only 
comprehensive campaign reform can address the problem of 
incumbent advantage, the phenomenon which is most responsible 
for the public's poor opinion of our current political system. 
Thus, proponents of term limits should not consider their work 
done upon voting for a term limits constitutional amendment. 
They should instead join with many term limits opponents in 
working diligently towards comprehensive bipartisan campaign 
reform, which alone can restore the good name of American 
democracy.

                                                     Martin Meehan.
                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    It is with great disappointment that we start the 105th 
Congress with this ill-conceived constitutional amendment to 
limit congressional terms. It does nothing to create more jobs, 
nothing to increase our citizens' standards of living, and 
nothing to reduce our trade deficit.
    We do not believe that voters should be denied the right to 
elect the people they believe best represent their interests 
and values. Instead, we continue to have faith in the 
fundamental good judgment of American voters, who already have 
the power to impose term limits--Members of the House must face 
reelection every two years, and Senators must seek reelection 
every six years. For these and other reasons set forth below, 
we dissent from H.J. Res. 2.

                     term limits are antidemocratic

    Most fundamentally, by denying voters the opportunity to 
vote for the person they believe is most qualified to serve as 
their Congressman or Senator, term limits undercut the very 
foundation of our democracy--majority rule. There is little 
difference between forcing citizens to vote for a particular 
candidate for office and denying them the ability to vote for 
that same person.
    As an historical matter we believe this issue was properly 
decided in the earliest days of this Republic. The Articles of 
Confederation required that legislative representatives rotate 
out of office after serving three one-year terms within any six 
year period.1 Since rotation was part of the Articles of 
Confederation, the Founders debated it at the Constitutional 
Convention as a corollary to term length.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Art. of Confed. art. V, cl. 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rotation, argued the Anti-Federalists, would provide 
members with a more intimate knowledge of their country and 
constituency, as well as prevent the abuses of corruption and 
encourage a greater number of people to hold public office. The 
Federalists countered that reelection--for both the president 
and the legislature--was an incentive to be responsive to the 
needs of the constituents, and their views favoring purer 
democracy and acknowledging the benefits of experience 
ultimately prevailed. New York Delegate Robert Livingston 
stated during the constitutional debates ``[w]e all know that 
experience is indispensably necessary to good government. Shall 
we, then, drive experience into obscurity? I repeat that this 
[mandatory office rotation] is an absolute abridgment of the 
people's rights.'' 2 And Alexander Hamilton wrote that 
term limits ``would be a diminution of the inducements to good 
behavior * * * [and deprive] the community of the advantages of 
the experience * * * gained in office.'' 3 Now is not the 
time to second guess these wise and far-sighted judgments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of 
the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at 
Philadelphia in 1787 at 293 (speech of R. Livingston) (J. Elliot ed., 
William Hein & Co., 1996) (1891).
    \3\ Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay, The Federalist 
464-65 (Benjamin Fletcher Wright ed., 1966).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Term limits are unnecessary
    Term limits are completely unnecessary in the current 
political environment. Recent congressional turnover has been 
staggeringly high. The 102d Congress (1990) saw 44 new 
Congressional Representatives elected, or a 10% turnover rate; 
the 103d Congress (1992) saw 110 new Congressional 
Representatives elected, or a 25% turnover rate; the 104th 
Congress (1994) saw 86 new Congressional Representatives 
elected, or a 20% turnover rate; and the 105th Congress (1996) 
saw 74 new Congressional Representatives elected, or a 17% 
turnover rate.4 Overall, of the 435 House Members serving 
in the 105th Congress, 315 will have served 10 years or less, 
and of the 100 Senators, 63 will have served less than two full 
terms.5 Congress has been almost completely remade within 
the span of a decade; Members elected only four years ago now 
rank among the top half of the House by seniority.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ See Letter from Pat Richardson, Analyst in American National 
Government, Government Division, to the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 
entitled ``Incumbency and Turnover in the U.S. House of 
Representatives,'' Jan. 31, 1997.
    \5\ Erika Niedowski, Defeats and retirements do work of term 
limits, The Hill, Dec. 4, 1996, at 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In his testimony before the Constitution Subcommittee, 
Congressional Scholar Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution 
reiterated this point:

          Incumbent reelection rates and margins of victory in 
        1992, 1994, and 1996 were low enough to encourage 
        future challengers and put fear in the hearts of 
        members of the Senate and House who seek reelection. 
        The two major parties are now more competitive at the 
        presidential and congressional levels than at any other 
        time in recent decades. No longer do we speak of one-
        party dominance of either branch of government.6
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ Hearing on Limiting Terms of Office for Members of the U.S. 
Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, Hearings before the Subcomm. 
on the Constitution of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 105th Cong., 
1st Sess (1995) (statement of Thomas E. Mann, Director of Governmental 
Studies, The Brookings Institution at 2) [hereinafter, 1997 House 
Judiciary Hearings].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

If term limits are to be adopted, they should apply immediately--to 
        sitting Members

    The Judiciary Committee rejected along party lines an 
amendment offered by Mr. Frank which would have made H.J. Res. 
2 applicable to Members of the House and Senate immediately 
upon ratification by the states. With the defeat of the Frank 
amendment, current Members might not be affected for nineteen 
years--up to seven years for ratification and another twelve 
years before the limits apply. We believe that if term limits 
are deemed an appropriate measure, they should apply to current 
lawmakers immediately upon ratification--there is no credible 
excuse for delay. As Chairman Hyde so eloquently pointed out 
during last Congress' floor debate:

        [I]t is a little amusing to see the stickers that have 
        been worn by so many of my colleagues. It says ``term 
        limits, yes.'' It does not say ``term limits now.'' * * 
        * I am [also] remind of the famous prayer of Saint 
        Augustine who said, ``Dear God, make me pure, but not 
        now.'' 7
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ 141 Cong. Rec. H3905 (daily ed. March 29, 1995).

    To illustrate the impact of failing to make the amendment 
immediately applicable, if H.J. Res. 2 was to be approved, 
Speaker Gingrich would still be permitted to serve an 
additional 10 terms, allowing him a total of 40 years of 
service, and Majority Leader Armey would be allowed an 
aggregate total of 34 years of service--tenures which are 
hardly consistent with the goals of term limits.
    The Committee's rejection of this fundamentally fair notion 
of immediate applicability lays bare its true goals: pandering 
to that part of the electorate which calls for term limits, 
without allowing that solution to have any likely impact on a 
single sitting Member. It is indeed ironic that those who claim 
to strongly support the concept of term limits find it so 
essential to provide for an ``orderly transition period'' when 
their own careers are at stake, even if this deprives the 
public of the perceived value of ``citizen legislatures'' for 
many additional years. As conservative columnist Robert E. 
Novak recently wrote, ``[l]ike their Democratic counterparts, 
who frankly and honestly oppose limits, the Republicans are 
professional politicians who enjoy the good life of 
Washington.'' 8 When 94 year old South Carolina Senator 
Strom Thurmond--serving his eighth six-year term in the 
Senate--can claim to be a proponent of term limits,9 we 
know we have a serious credibility gap within the Republican 
party on this issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Robert E. Novak, ``Term-Limits Hypocrites'', The Washington 
Post, Jan. 30, 1997, at A19.
    \9\ See 141 Cong. Rec. S1529 (daily ed. Oct. 17, 1995)(voting 
against motion to table sense of the Senate resolution endorsing term 
limits); 142 Cong. Rec. S3879 (daily ed. April 23, 1996)(voting in 
favor of motion to cut off debate on term limits constitutional 
amendment).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lack of consistency of many term limits supporters was 
further exposed during the amendment process at the Judiciary 
Committee. Among other things, Republicans were given the 
opportunity to support substitute amendments supported by U.S. 
Term Limits providing for (1) a maximum of six years in the 
House and 12 years in the Senate, (2) 12 years in the House and 
Senate unless the state in question adopts a shorter limit, and 
(3) allowing each state to decide the appropriate term limit. 
Yet in all cases, the amendments were soundly defeated by the 
Republican Majority.

Term limits remove critical leadership abilities

    An in-depth study comparing senior Members to their more 
junior counterparts over the years shows that rather than being 
more subject to special interest lobbies, long-time Members are 
more productive: ``None of these comparisons shows the 
professional legislators are more corrupt, parochial, or 
influenced by interest groups than their amateur counterparts. 
Instead careful study of Congress * * * suggests that greater 
professionalism is a necessary offshoot of the growth and 
specialization of the modern world.'' 10 Every other 
profession in this nation values experience, tenure, and the 
wisdom that can come with terms of service. Term limits would 
eliminate these desirable characteristics and make Congress an 
institution where inexperience is more valued than knowledge.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\ Thomas E. Mann, ``Congressional Term Limits: A Bad Idea Whose 
time Should Never Come'', The Politics of Law and Term Limits, Cato 
Institute, 1994, cited in, Term Limits for Members of the U.S. House 
and Senate, Hearings Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution of the 
Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. 119-120 (1995) 
[hereinafter, 1995 House Judiciary Hearings].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Perhaps even more dangerously, instead of a legislature 
more sensitive to the needs of the voters, under term limits we 
could end up with Representatives and Senators who are more 
interested in finding a job after their term expires than 
responding to the long-term needs of their constituents. As the 
League of Women Voters has testified:

          Elected representatives with a built-in cut-off date 
        are less likely to be swayed by their constituents' 
        interests and more likely to respond to the special 
        interests who might provide them with a job--or at 
        least a hand in finding one--after their term is over. 
        And for many, congressional service will become merely 
        a stepping stone to another office. From day one, term-
        limited legislators would make decisions--would be 
        forced to make decisions--not necessarily with their 
        constituents' interest in mind but with an eye to their 
        own interest for the future. Instead of having ``career 
        politicians'' who are committed to the institutions in 
        which they serve and the constituents they represent, 
        we have career politicians with an overriding 
        commitment to, you guessed it, their careers.11
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ Id. at 146 (statement of Becky Cain, President, League of 
Women Voters of the United States).

    A term-limited environment is also more likely to 
discourage ordinary Americans from running for Congress, since 
most individuals are less likely to jeopardize their careers to 
run for elective office for only a few terms.12 As 
political scientist Morris Fiorina has observed, ``[a]mateur 
political settings advantage the independently wealthy, 
professionals with private practices, independent business 
people, and others with similar financial and career 
flexibility.'' 13 Similarly, Syracuse University Professor 
Linda Fowler has concluded that patterns of recruitment and 
forced retirements under term limits will increase the 
influence of special interests in the legislature.14
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ Former Constitution Subcommittee Chair Don Edwards has written 
that term limits ``would establish a Congress of lame ducks, rich 
people who could afford to spend a few years away from their life's 
work, corporation executives sent by their employers for business 
purposes, and men and women with a single passionately held goal.'' 
Letter to New York Times, December 17, 1990.
    \13\ Morris. P. Fiorina, ``Divided Government in the States'' in 
The Politics of Divided Government, at 192-93, 1991.
     14 1995 House Judiciary Hearings, supra note 10, at 121.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Term limits would result in undesirable transfers of power to unelected 
        bureaucrats and lobbyists

    Under term limits, congressional staffers and corporate and 
foreign lobbyists would play a far more significant role. 
Inexperienced Members would also be susceptible to the 
manipulation and influence of the more experienced Executive 
Branch. As the League of Women Voters has testified:

          Term limits would weaken the legislative branch of 
        government--and strengthen an already powerful 
        Presidency, upsetting the constitutional balance of 
        powers. Congress must be able to form its own judgments 
        on national issues, to come to consensus independently 
        of the executive branch's policies, if necessary. A 
        Congress of amateurs, however, would by its very nature 
        be more pliable and deferential--and the institution 
        would be robbed of its historic role of restraining the 
        power of the Executive, who controls the entire federal 
        bureaucracy. As a result, the branch of government 
        closest to the people would become a less effective 
        advocate for its constituents.15
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ 1995 House Judiciary Hearings, supra note 10, at 146. These 
concerns are also borne out by studies showing the high degrees of 
experience held by Executive Branch staff. A 1989 study showed that 70 
percent of career executives in the Executive Branch have been with 
their agencies for 10 years, and 50 percent for 15 years. (Leadership 
for America, Rebuilding the Public Service, Task Force Reports to The 
National Commission on the Public Service, Paul A. Volcker, Chairman, 
1989, at 163.) A 1993 study showed that the ``typical Federal civilian 
employee'' had a length of service of 14.9 years average, for full time 
permanent employees. (Office of Personnel Mngmt., Federal Civilian 
Workforce Statistics, Employment and Trends as of November 1993, at 78 
(1993)).

    The experience in states which have adopted term limits for 
their own state legislators show that concern about transfer of 
power to unaccountable bureaucrats and lobbyists is indeed a 
serious problem. Thomas Mann recently testified: ``What we see 
thus far [in the states] suggests that term limits may increase 
turnover, strengthen executives, shift power from upper to 
lower chambers (which tend to have longer terms), heighten 
partisan conflict, and increase reliance on experts, including 
staff and lobbyists.'' 16 A recent analysis by Peter 
Schrag concerning the effect of legislative term limits in 
California concludes, ``California's recent experience may 
signal what we can expect: gridlock, bitter partisan hostility, 
and greater reliance on special interests for the expertise 
required to write complex legislation.'' 17
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\  1997 House Judiciary Hearings, supra note 6 (statement of 
Thomas E. Mann at 3).
    \17\ Peter Schrag, ``The Populist Road to Hell, Term Limits in 
California'', The American Prospect, Winter, 1996, at 24.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Term limits supporters have contradictory goals

    Term limits supporters claim mutually exclusive goals: 
limits will make legislators closer to the people and limits 
will make legislators more distant. Supporters of term limits 
contend that we could cure Congress' ills by filling it with 
Members who are ``citizen legislators'' and want to undertake 
the job as a civic duty for a short time rather than as a 
career. Supporters complain the current professional legislator 
means that you ``no longer work, shop, commute or send your 
children to school among your constituents.'' 18
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\ Term Limits for Members of the U.S. Senate and House of 
Representatives, Hearings before the Subcomm. on Civil and 
Constitutional Rights of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 103d Cong., 
1st & 2d Sess. 41 (1993-94) (statement of David Mason, Director, U.S. 
Congress Assessment Project, The Heritage Foundation) [hereinafter, 
1993-94 House Judiciary Hearings].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Then, in contradiction to that premise, term limit 
supporters take a completely opposite tack. Prominent term 
limits supporter George Will argues term limits are ``not to 
make Congress closer to the people, but to establish a 
constitutional distance for a more deliberative process, all of 
which would restore to Congress its proper stature.'' 19 
Taken together, the two viewpoints underscore the intellectual 
inconsistency of the term limits movement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\ George F. Will, Speech to Cato Institute, Dec. 1, 1993, 
reprinted in, 1993-94 House Judiciary Hearings, id., at 215.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Term limits provide an excuse for failure to act on campaign finance 
        reform

    Not only are term limits themselves a dangerous proposal, 
they offer the opponents of real and meaningful campaign 
finance reform an easy excuse for inaction. Fred Werthheimer, 
President of Common Cause, identified this fundamental 
disconnect:

          We recognize that there is widespread popular support 
        for term limits and that it stems in part from the view 
        that Members of Congress have become remote from 
        average citizens, dependent on and obligated to special 
        interests and their political money and locked into 
        office by a campaign finance system that provides 
        extraordinary and unfair financial advantages for 
        incumbents over their challengers. We believe that the 
        way to address these underlying problems, however, is 
        through fundamental political reform that curbs the 
        undue influence of campaign contributions over 
        government decisions, creates the opportunity for 
        challengers to run competitive campaigns against 
        incumbents and makes Members of Congress accountable to 
        their constituents, not to monied interests.20
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\ 1995 House Judiciary Hearings, supra note 10, at 154.

    Of course, the lack of interest in campaign finance reform 
can hardly be unexpected from a Republican party which by many 
analyses maintained their narrow control in the House 
principally by virtue of a massive fundraising 
advantage.21 The truth is, if the Majority was serious 
about removing entrenched law-makers, it would move campaign 
finance reform, not term limits, as the first major legislation 
to be considered in the 105th Congress.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\ Last November, the ten highest congressional races won by 
Republicans turned on a total of 9,700 votes. The average Republican 
fundraising advantage in those ten races was $372,000 over their 
Democratic opponents.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               conclusion

    H.J. Res. 2 trivializes the Constitution and belittles 
those who would serve their country by serving in the United 
States Congress. The voters of Texas and Illinois knew what 
they were doing when they reelected Democratic Rep. Sam Rayburn 
and Republican Senator Everett Dirksen term after term; the 
citizens of Florida were right to repeatedly return Rep. Claude 
Pepper to office; and the voters of Michigan are fully 
justified in continuing to elect John Dingell, the current dean 
of the House. Their wise counsel and well-reasoned judgments 
have helped steer this country through many dangerous crises.
    At the same time, when they are so inclined, voters have 
shown no fear in throwing out less popular Members, be they 
freshmen or long-time veterans. We don't need to amend the 
Constitution to limit terms--there can be no better judge of 
whether a legislator deserves to remain in office than the 
voters themselves.

                                   John Conyers, Jr.
                                   Bobby Scott.
                                   Steven R. Rothman.
                                   Barney Frank.
                                   Jerrold Nadler.
                                   Melvin L. Watt.
                                   Rick Boucher.
                                   Zoe Lofgren.
                                   Maxine Waters.
                                   Howard L. Berman.
                                   Shelia Jackson Lee.
                                   William Delahunt.