NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lawmakers Waver On Term-Limit Promises

April 7, 1999

Some members of Congress who pledged during their initial campaigns to retire after a stated number of years are having second thoughts. Some say they wish they had never taken the pledge to self-limit their term of office, while others look wistfully at the prospect of committee chairmanships in another few years.

Whatever their emotions, they are having to make a choice whether to step down or break their commitment.

  • Ten of the 59 members who made the promise must decide whether to give up their seats next year.
  • Of the 59 members serving under the self-imposed limits, only 11 are Democrats.
  • Nine of the 10 members whose terms expire in 2000 are Republicans.
  • Six of the Republicans have said they would leave, one Republican says he will run again, two Republicans and one Democrat say they are unsure.

Proponents of term limits have abandoned a drive to obtain a constitutional amendment imposing term limits. Instead, the group U.S. Term Limits plans to spend $20 million in 2000 on a campaign to pressure congressional candidates in both parties to limit their tenure to no more than six years.

Source: Nancy E. Roman, "Lawmakers Voice Regret on Term-Limit Promises," Washington Times, April 7, 1999.


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