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Ed Rendell: Congressional Cowardice on Guns and Impeachment Prove Need for Term Limits

Members of Congress should be subject to term limits because “their fear of losing an election has become paralyzing and their ability to do anything that has the slightest opposition is almost nonexistent,” Former Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell wrote in an editorial in The Hill on Sunday.

Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Imposing term limits would require an amendment to the United States Constitution, and three-fourths of the states would have to agree to ratify it.

Rendell has no illusions about how Herculean of a task that would be, however, its necessity became abundantly clear amid the GOP’s impeachment spectacle earlier this month, at the moment when forty-three Republicans in the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump based on the “outright disgusting” premise “that you cannot convict a president who has left office even when he had been impeached while still serving.”

That, Rendell argued, is the sort of twisted thinking which emerges from lawmakers who are trapped in endless cycles of fundraising and corporate belly-rubbing.

“Enough is enough. Having run for office 11 times, I understand the fear of losing. If you want to make real changes that affect people’s lives in positive ways, and you believe you can, you don’t want to lose that opportunity. But it is apparent that a significant number of elected officials who populate Congress are so afraid of losing an election that they won’t do anything with which their constituents might disagree. They don’t act like leaders,” wrote Rendell.

“They act like sheep waiting to be directed where to go.”

Another grisly example of toxic pay-to-play politics can be found in the unwillingness of politicians to fix the uniquely American issue of gun violence.

“Remember when legislation requiring a background check for a gun purchase failed in Congress even though most Americans favor the idea? Nothing seems to work with members of Congress; their fear of losing an election has become paralyzing and their ability to do anything that has the slightest opposition is almost nonexistent,” Rendell wrote.

“Sensible term limits — six terms for House members and two terms for senators — would solve the problem,” Rendell argued. “If you were a senator in your ninth year of service, the only thing you would risk in taking an unpopular vote would be an additional three years in office, not a career.”



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