Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and former Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Penn.) co-authored an op-ed calling for the introduction of a constitutional amendment to set term limits for members of Congress.
“Our elected representatives seem afraid to do anything that would jeopardize their reelection,” the bipartisan Pennsylvanian duo argued. “Term limits allow them to operate without that pressure, secure in the knowledge that they are not risking the position that could be a lifetime career. They would be able to cast votes knowing that the risk they are taking would not jeopardize their entire future.”
The piece, published Tuesday in The Philadelphia Inquirer, seeks to re-energize the movement to introduce term limits for Congress. While not advocating for anything new in particular, Toomey and Rendell lay out a case for term limits and why they think they should be adopted, and they frame their argument in terms of the worsening gridlock.
“We recall a time not too long ago when the House and Senate could regularly put divisions aside to address the big issues facing our country,” they write. “Think of the early 2000s when, in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Congress overwhelmingly approved several measures that created the Department of Homeland Security, established more stringent safety guidelines at airports, and helped Ground Zero first responders.”
“Now, in the midst of another crisis, members of Congress frequently focus more on blaming each other than on finding solutions,” the piece continues. “Entrenched politicians have been steering the ship of state for decades and — don’t look now — we’re about to hit a $25 trillion national debt iceberg. It’s time for a new approach.”
For a long while, congressional term limits has had broad, albeit tepid, bipartisan support.
During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump advocated for term limits as part of his plan to “drain the swamp.” In April 2018, President Trump met with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who were pushing for term limits, but the effort soon lost steam. Since then, term limits have sunk to the bottom of Washington, DC’s legislative priorities while the gridlock has worsened.
Placing term limits on members of Congress would require a constitutional amendment, according to the Supreme Court. Achieving this is the most daunting obstacle for the movement.
For this to happen: either two-thirds of Congress has to vote to ratify such an amendment, or at least 34 state legislatures have to apply for a constitutional convention to kick off the long, grueling process. Moreover, once a constitutional convention has drafted an amendment, 38 state legislatures have to ratify it before it’s tacked onto the Constitution.
However, the movement’s fiercest opposition is the very person they would need on their side to make this work: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The three-decade lawmaker opposed term limits, saying at a 2016 press conference, “I would say we have term limits now. They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.”
With Senate Republicans going all-in on appointing Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before November 3, there’s likely no room on the agenda for term limits in the near future.
While using the gridlock brought about by the pandemic as a pretext for introducing term limits, the cornucopia of issues brought about by this very pandemic has denied term limits receiving even a scant moment in the spotlight. But, the pandemic won’t last forever. Once this chaos ultimately subsides, perhaps term limits will finally find their moment under the sun. But that will have to wait for now.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Eric Clapton Raises $2.2 Million for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Presidential Campaign
Rock and Roll and Blues legend Eric Clapton took center stage at a recent campaign fundraiser, raising an impressive $2.2 million for Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Clapton’s electrifying performance at a private concert in Los Angeles underscored his support for Kennedy’s primary campaign against President Biden, making headlines across the nation.
The event, which featured Clapton’s iconic guitar prowess and took place against the backdrop of a prominent Kennedy 2024 banner, was a resounding success, according to a campaign press release. According to reports from Fox News, of the $2.2 million raised, $1 million directly benefited Kennedy’s campaign, while the remaining $1.2 million bolstered a political action committee supporting the Democrat’s bid for the presidency.
Attendees eager to support Kennedy’s campaign invested a cool $6,600 per ticket, as reported by the Daily Mail, to witness Clapton’s musical artistry and to lend their support to the candidate. Kennedy expressed his deep gratitude to Clapton for his role in the event, emphasizing the unifying power of music in today’s divided society.
“I am deeply grateful to Eric Clapton for bringing his musical artistry and rebellious spirit to my gathering in Los Angeles last night,” Kennedy remarked in the press release. He added, “I sometimes think that in our divided society, it is music rather than any kind of intellectual agreement that has the most potential to bring us together again. Eric sings from the depths of the human condition.”
Kennedy also credited artists like Clapton for invoking faith in the limitless power of human beings to overcome obstacles and unite the nation. The campaign event not only showcased Clapton’s performance but also included a private dinner attended by Kennedy, his wife Cheryl Hines, Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, I-Hawaii.
However, not everyone in attendance aligned with Kennedy’s presidential aspirations. Stephen Stills, who was initially present at the fundraiser, made it clear afterward that his support remained firmly behind President Biden. According to the Daily Beast, Stills issued a statement through a spokesperson, affirming his allegiance to the incumbent president.
“I support President Biden,” Stills declared. “I was there as a guest to support Eric Clapton, who performed.”
The event served as a notable intersection of music, politics, and fundraising, underlining the influential role that artists and musicians can play in shaping the political landscape and contributing to presidential campaigns.
With Kennedy’s campaign coffers significantly bolstered by Clapton’s performance, the 2024 presidential race continues to garner attention and financial support from a diverse array of donors and influencers.
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