Quantcast

Should Senators and Congressmen have 4 year terms?

Drue-AFCL 2012/10/08 18:43:52
Related Topics: Senator
You!
Add Photos & Videos
Add a comment above

Top Opinion

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • sandra smith 2012/10/10 06:30:06
    no
    sandra smith
    The reason our Founders set it up that way was for continuity, but Senators were supposed to be selected by the states' legislatures NOT popular vote, so their allegiance would remain to the STATE not the central government, which was federal before 1871 when the Constitution was illegally revised and it became Federal with the incorporation of DC. So the popular elected Reps could be changed more often if they proved to not do the job adequately for the people, but the Senators could only be removed early or renewed by the states' legislatures. We need to go back to that, which would help get the swamp back under STATES' control, and government of, by and for the PEOPLE!
  • merlin 2012/10/09 18:51:22 (edited)
    yes
    merlin
  • Katfish 2012/10/09 18:25:08
    no
    Katfish
    I assume you are referring to term limits.
    I dont think it would make much difference, if the voters are stupid enough to give Ted Kennedy 50 years in congress, they are also stupid enough to elect someone even worse.
  • sandra ... Katfish 2012/10/10 06:31:37
    sandra smith
    No that refers to term lengths which are outlined in the Constitution: 2 years for Reps and 6 years for Senators.
  • Katfish sandra ... 2012/10/10 17:26:34
    Katfish
    OK,
    Then to answer that question, I see no need to ammend the constitution in that regard.
  • Jeff 2012/10/09 15:26:34
    yes
    Jeff
    1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into theSocial Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4.Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and presentCongressmen/women are void effective 12/31/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term (s), then go home and back to work.
  • Mr Bob 2012/10/09 08:03:26
    no
    Mr Bob
    +2
    2 years and they're out.
    Pay them reasonably for their time, but no retirement, no lifetime medical. You're DONE!!
  • Rick 2012/10/09 04:06:56
    yes
    Rick
    +1
    iI should be four years, and for the country, like service men and women do. No retirements for them!!!
  • charles_1 2012/10/09 03:50:10
    no
    charles_1
    No. There are reasons for the terms the way they are.
  • robert.goldsmith.14 2012/10/09 03:46:21 (edited)
  • Kat ♪ ~BTO-t-BCRA-F~ ♪ 2012/10/09 03:24:09
    no
    Kat ♪ ~BTO-t-BCRA-F~ ♪
    2 years top
  • Ken 2012/10/09 02:40:37
    yes
    Ken
    and a limit of two terms each.
  • santa6642 2012/10/09 01:38:02
    yes
    santa6642
    With out pay or benefits. Just pay them a minimun wage stifin the days they auctually work.
  • James 2012/10/09 00:40:16
    no
    James
    all members of Congress and the President should have the privilege to serve a maximum of 12 years in office. For the POTUS, that's 3 terms. For Senators, that's 2 terms. For Representatives, that's 6 terms.
  • Joves the Instigator 2012/10/08 21:57:54
    no
    Joves the Instigator
    No there were reasons that the framers set it up the way they did. Originally the states legislatures elected Senators, and that is one of the reasons for the 6 year terms over shorter, so the Senate was not affected as much by the constant changing state political landscape. But I think that since they took that out of the hands of the states that the Senate should be subject to 3 year terms, like the House side is.
    Now for Representatives 2 years is just fine. But I do think that both houses of the Congress should be Term Limited. Say 3 for the House and two for the Senate, that way they do not get so cozy with the Special Interests as they are. Also if you added a they can be written in after the limit they could get reelected, but that would be the only way they could go past that.
  • Christopher Kirchen 2012/10/08 21:50:04
    no
    Christopher Kirchen
    Two year terms would be better.
  • Tony 2012/10/08 21:44:14
    yes
    Tony
    and limited to two terms!
  • Sgt Major B 2012/10/08 21:40:47
    no
    Sgt Major B
    +1
    Voter intelligence, however, should be evaluated before any election.

    "Stupid is as stupid does!" --Mother Gump
  • Playerazzi 2012/10/08 21:29:40
    no
    Playerazzi
    Leave it the way it is.
  • Freeranger 2012/10/08 21:01:04
    yes
    Freeranger
    +1
    More answer options would be much more balanced.....but I'll answer thusly, as to what "I" belive, (which doesn't make me right).

    I fully believe that Congress SHOULD be comprised of "PUBLIC SERVANTS"----did you read that part? I'll repeat.....PUBLIC SERVANTS.....whose terms last NO MORE than twice. That's 8 years total, depending on their productivity in serving the American public. I want career politicians and their collective perks (reads heath care and investments) to cease!
    Secondly, there would be NO MORE lobbyists in Washington, which would eliminate former Senators and Congressman with insider knowledge and connections, from affecting policy and padding their own futures.

    I LOVE being such a hater.
  • Rebel Yell 2012/10/08 20:35:06
    no
    Rebel Yell
    Term limits would violate voters rights to re-elect good Rep's. We still have a handful.
    Also, it takes a while for a congressman to find his/her niche in that arena and know what to bat for and against.

    Americans should take the time to go to the town halls in their communities. I have been to both party's town halls and always come away with new information, some I don't like ... others I do. In a relaxed setting our congressmen are far more open than when sitting before Hannity or Rachel Maddow. Learn whether that person is working for your community, your state, and your nation. Don't depend on the media to decide for you. That is your responsibility.
  • Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO 2012/10/08 20:32:30
    no
    Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO
    but they should have term limits
  • Chris - The Rowdy One! #187 2012/10/08 20:31:23
  • MarinerFH 2012/10/08 20:29:13
  • Tennessee3501 2012/10/08 20:24:59
    no
    Tennessee3501
    President Johnson suggested this in his State of the Union Speech in either 1965 or 1966. It went over like a lead baloon! The Congessmen liked the idea, but nobody else did. It will require an ammendment to the U. S. Constitution. It will never happen!
  • Sister Jean 2012/10/08 20:17:32
    no
    Sister Jean
    no no and NO
  • Rusty Shackleford 2012/10/08 20:11:56
    no
    Rusty Shackleford
    It should be left up to each state to decide how they want to have their representatives serve.
  • Tenness... Rusty S... 2012/10/08 20:27:16
    Tennessee3501
    Maybe in their state legislatures. The House and Senate are created by the U.S. Constitution!
  • Rusty S... Tenness... 2012/10/08 22:29:47
    Rusty Shackleford
    +1
    But each state chooses who will represent them and for how long.
  • Tenness... Rusty S... 2012/10/08 23:26:36
    Tennessee3501
    The U.S. Constitution specifies the terms of office. House Members are chosen in Congressional Districts for two year terms. Senators are chosen by the voters of each state for six year terms.
  • Informed Voter 2012/10/08 20:08:17
    yes
    Informed Voter
    +1
    The shorter and more temporary, the better!
  • Sister ... Informe... 2012/10/08 20:17:57
  • Informe... Sister ... 2012/10/08 20:20:35
    Informed Voter
    +1
    What's the matter, sister? Reducing yourself to cartoons as a form of expression is something your weakminded friends are only capable of doing.
  • Informe... Sister ... 2012/10/08 20:23:26
    Informed Voter
    +3
    Congressmen: no more than two; two-year terms for life!

    Senators: repeal the 17th Amendment and give the States their power back. And do so for only 1 four-year term!

    How hard is that to understand?

    Who Chooses a U.S Senator?

    After the all the hoopla centering on Delaware’s choice for the Senate seat once held by Joe Biden and whether the GOP would capture the Senate along with the House this election cycle, it’s instructive to know that the outcome could have been very different. For instance, can you say Senator “Beau” Biden? It’s not outside the realm of probability and he could have immediately succeeded his father rather than having a place holder like Ted Kaufman appointed by the Governor as is the process today.

    One hundred years ago, the Delaware General Assembly would have been tasked with appointing its state senators for their six-year terms, not the people—and per the U.S. Constitution!

    Prior to the ratification of the 17th Amendment, Senators were chosen from their respective state’s legislature, and not directly elected by the people.

    On the surface, the original intent of the Constitution sounds egregious and not very democratic! In today’s highly partisan atmosphere where corrupt influences abound and trust in elected officials are at an all-time low, it would see...


















































    &





























    Congressmen: no more than two; two-year terms for life!

    Senators: repeal the 17th Amendment and give the States their power back. And do so for only 1 four-year term!

    How hard is that to understand?

    Who Chooses a U.S Senator?

    After the all the hoopla centering on Delaware’s choice for the Senate seat once held by Joe Biden and whether the GOP would capture the Senate along with the House this election cycle, it’s instructive to know that the outcome could have been very different. For instance, can you say Senator “Beau” Biden? It’s not outside the realm of probability and he could have immediately succeeded his father rather than having a place holder like Ted Kaufman appointed by the Governor as is the process today.

    One hundred years ago, the Delaware General Assembly would have been tasked with appointing its state senators for their six-year terms, not the people—and per the U.S. Constitution!

    Prior to the ratification of the 17th Amendment, Senators were chosen from their respective state’s legislature, and not directly elected by the people.

    On the surface, the original intent of the Constitution sounds egregious and not very democratic! In today’s highly partisan atmosphere where corrupt influences abound and trust in elected officials are at an all-time low, it would seem insane to allow a state legislature monopolized by a single party to select its senators rather than allow the people to do so. Why would the Framers construct the Constitution in such a manner? Believe it or not, there is a reason, although I shy to the thought of reversing the 17th Amendment now.

    So, how did we get here? What was the reasoning behind the Constitution’s version of the Senate before the 17th Amendment? And what is the impact of that Amendment today?


    The following is a brief history:

    “Direct Election of Senators

    Voters have elected their senators in the privacy of the voting booth since 1913. The framers of the Constitution, however, did not intend senators to be elected in this way, and included in Article I, section 3, "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote." The election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention established the precedent for state selection. The framers believed that in electing senators, state legislatures would cement their tie with the national government, which would increase the chances for ratifying the Constitution. They also expected that senators elected by state legislatures would be able to concentrate on the business at hand without pressure from the populace.

    This process seemed to work well until the mid-1850s. At that time, growing hostilities in various states resulted in vacant Senate seats. In Indiana, for example, the conflict between Democrats in the southern half of the state and the emerging Republican party in the northern half prevented the election of any candidate, thereby leaving the Senate seat vacant for two years. This marked the beginning of many contentious battles in state legislatures, as the struggle to elect senators reflected the increasing tensions over slavery and states' rights which led to the Civil War.

    After the Civil War, problems in senatorial elections by the state legislatures multiplied. In one case in the late 1860s, the election of Senator John Stockton of New Jersey was contested on the grounds that he had been elected by a plurality rather than a majority in the state legislature. Stockton based his defense on the observation that not all states elected their senators in the same way, and presented a report that illustrated the inconsistency in state elections of senators. In response, Congress passed a law in 1866 regulating how and when senators were elected in each state. This was the first change in the process of senatorial elections created by the Founders. The law helped but did not entirely solve the problem, and deadlocks in some legislatures continued to cause long vacancies in some Senate seats.

    Intimidation and bribery marked some of the states' selection of senators. Nine bribery cases were brought before the Senate between 1866 and 1906. In addition, forty-five deadlocks occurred in twenty states between 1891 and 1905, resulting in numerous delays in seating senators. In 1899, problems in electing a senator in Delaware were so acute that the state legislature did not send a senator to Washington for four years.

    The impetus for reform began as early as 1826, when direct election of senators was first proposed. In the 1870s, voters sent a petition to the House of Representatives for a popular election. From 1893 to 1902, momentum increased considerably. Each year during that period, a constitutional amendment to elect senators by popular vote was proposed in Congress, but the Senate fiercely resisted change, despite the frequent vacancies and disputed election results. In the mid-1890s, the Populist party incorporated the direct election of senators into its party platform, although neither the Democrats nor the Republicans paid much notice at the time. In the early 1900s, one state initiated changes on its own. Oregon pioneered direct election and experimented with different measures over several years until it succeeded in 1907. Soon after, Nebraska followed suit and laid the foundation for other states to adopt measures reflecting the people's will. Senators who resisted reform had difficulty ignoring the growing support for direct election of senators.

    After the turn of the century, momentum for reform grew rapidly. William Randolph Hearst expanded his publishing empire with Cosmopolitan, and championed the cause of direct election with muckraking articles and strong advocacy of reform. Hearst hired a veteran reporter, David Graham Phillips, who wrote scathing pieces on senators, portraying them as pawns of industrialists and financiers. The pieces became a series titled "The Treason of the Senate," which appeared in several monthly issues of the magazine in 1906. These articles galvanized the public into maintaining pressure on the Senate for reform.

    Increasingly, senators were elected based on state referenda, similar to the means developed by Oregon. By 1912, as many as twenty-nine states elected senators either as nominees of their party's primary or in a general election. As representatives of a direct election process, the new senators supported measures that argued for federal legislation, but in order to achieve reform, a constitutional amendment was required. In 1911, Senator Joseph Bristow from Kansas offered a resolution, proposing a constitutional amendment. The idea also enjoyed strong support from Senator William Borah of Idaho, himself a product of direct election. Eight southern senators and all Republican senators from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania opposed Senator Bristow's resolution. The Senate approved the resolution largely because of the senators who had been elected by state-initiated reforms, many of whom were serving their first term, and therefore may have been more willing to support direct election. After the Senate passed the amendment, which represented the culmination of decades of debate about the issue, the measure moved to the House of Representatives.

    The House initially fared no better than the Senate in its early discussions of the proposed amendment. Much wrangling characterized the debates, but in the summer of 1912 the House finally passed the amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. The campaign for public support was aided by senators such as Borah and political scientist George H. Haynes, whose scholarly work on the Senate contributed greatly to passage of the amendment.

    Connecticut's approval gave the Seventeenth Amendment the required three-fourths majority, and it was added to the Constitution in 1913. The following year marked the first time all senatorial elections were held by popular vote.

    The Seventeenth Amendment restates the first paragraph of Article I, section 3 of the Constitution and provides for the election of senators by replacing the phrase "chosen by the Legislature thereof" with "elected by the people thereof." In addition, it allows the governor or executive authority of each state, if authorized by that state's legislature, to appoint a senator in the event of a vacancy, until a general election occurs.

    The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

    When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.”
    Ref: http://www.senate.gov/artandh...

    So how did the Framers decide on a bicameral legislature where the people elect one house, but the state legislatures appointed the other?

    It was Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman’s “Great Compromise” that allowed for equal suffrage among all the states in the upper house (the Senate) while the larger states could be have more representation based on population in the lower house (House of Representatives). However, the following stipulation was required before the large states would agree to the compromise:

    “As a precaution against having to assume the financial burdens of the smaller states, the larger states exacted an agreement that revenue bills would originate only in the House, where the more populous states would have greater representation.”
    Ref: Matthew Spalding, We Still Hold These Truths, (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2009), p. 95.

    As Larry Schweikart explained it, the compromise resolved that, “The House of Representatives, in which members would be elected directly by the people, would be based on population determined by a federal census. It represented ‘the people’ in the broadest sense, and terms of the members were kept at a brief two years, requiring representatives to face the voters more often than any other elected group. On the other hand, the Senate would represent the interests of the states, with senators chosen by state legislatures for six-year terms, one third of whom would come up for election every two years.”
    Ref: Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, A Patriot’s History of the United States, (New York, NY: The Penguin Group, 2004), p. 113.

    He went on to say that, “Clearly, the structure of the compromise not only addressed the concerns of each side, but it spoke to another overarching concern—that change be difficult and slow. No matter what burning issue consumed Americans, at any given time only one third of the Senate would be up for reappointment by the state legislature, providing a break on emotion-driven legislation.” (Ibid)

    It wasn’t an easy task by any means. In fact, as David Stewart observed (no doubt from viewing the diametrically opposing animosity in politics today), “The people of America would hold their breath for four months while the Convention met, secretly, to decide their fate. Had they been able to view the confusion and conflict among the delegates, they might have lost hope altogether.”
    Ref: David O. Stewart, The Summer of 1787, (NY: Simon & Shuster, 2007), p. 16.

    Reflecting on the Constitution some 40 years after the convention, James Madison wrote that, “reconciling the larger states to the equality of the Senate is known to have been the most threatening [difficulty] that was encountered in framing the Constitution.” (Ibid, p. 126)

    Ok, so why the distinction between elective sources for the House and the Senate at the federal level? And what makes the Senate so different from the House of Representatives beside each state receiving two votes in the upper chamber of Congress?

    For the answers, we’d have to define Federalism. And for that, we turn to Judge Andrew Napolitano.

    “Federalism is a system in which political power is divided between the central government and sovereign states, and each may check the other’s exercise of power. The Framers believed that the Senate would protect the State’s power.”
    Ref: Andrew P. Napolitano, Lies the Government Told You, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), p. 59.

    This idea was expounded upon and explained in Federalist 62 where Hamilton or Madison (it’s not clear which) wrote, “It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.”
    Ref: http://www.foundingfathers.in...

    Why did Hamilton or Madison believe the senate needed that connection between the states’ legislatures and the federal government? Because,“[T]he Framers believed that certain structural barriers, or ‘forms,’ were necessary to hold federal power in check. One of these barriers is the U.S. Senate, and the methods by which its members are selected.” (Napolitano, p. 59)

    And just as the United States needed ambassadors to represent our nation’s interests abroad, so too, was the role of a state’s Senators.

    “U.S. Senators were intended to be ‘ambassadors of the states,’ as States, not representatives of the people in them.” (Ibid, p. 59-60)

    And as ambassadors and not representatives, they are bound to represent the will of each state’s legislature and NOT the people directly. For instance, rather than the DGA having to put forth a meaningless referendum in support of a bill before Congress (like their lackluster support of the Conyers Healthcare Bill), they would have direct control over the vote each senator would cast. The referendum would have no teeth since a senator wouldn’t necessarily have to listen to the DGA and could vote their conscience.

    This is not so for an “ambassador” who is a direct representative of the will of each state’s legislature! What the state legislature deems good for the state is what should be proffered before the U.S. Senate. This gives the states direct power stemming from the people to their states’ legislature and then from the legislature to the Federal government. The balance of the federalist system is thus maintained.

    As perfectly described by Judge Napolitano, “(The Seventeenth) Amendment is a mortal blow to the concept of federalism, as it prevents state legislatures from having any influence in the federal government. Sure, the Amendment ensures that all members of Congress are elected by the people, but the people of an entire state are unable to affect the actions of their U.S. Senators; they can only vote them out of office after their lengthy, six-year terms. Furthermore, the people of every State are not trained to influence federal government policy, and would not know what to do even if given the opportunity to communicate with their senators.” (Ibid, p. 62)

    “The original Constitution provided our state legislatures control of our U.S. Senators, but the Seventeenth Amendment took the power out of their hands, rendering the States defenseless against federal government abuses.” (Ibid)

    Judge Napolitano summarized that chapter in his book perfectly with this sentiment:

    “If anyone tells you that (the Seventeenth) Amendment enfranchises voters, tell that person that the Amendment disenfranchises the States.” (Ibid, p. 63)
    (more)
  • Chris -... Informe... 2012/10/08 20:33:09
  • Walt 2012/10/08 19:40:26
    no
    Walt
    +2
    In general, I like the way the founders set up our government, but I wouldn't mind seeing Senate terms reduced to 3 instead of 6 years.
  • Beat Magnum True Hero 2012/10/08 19:34:11
    yes
    Beat Magnum True Hero
    And everyone should run the same year. I'd like a real 4 year break from elections.
  • Rustie 2012/10/08 19:24:27
    no
    Rustie
    +1
    I'd say a maximum of 8 years in office (four 2 year terms)
  • Jim in SC 2012/10/08 19:19:47
    no
    Jim in SC
    +5
    But I do support term limits so we don't end up with career politicians.
  • beachbum 2012/10/08 19:09:35
    yes
    beachbum
    And only 1 term. Then maybe after 8 years, they could run again. And NO life time perks for any of 'em.

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2014/09/02 12:12:58

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals