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Incumbency in Congress

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by

Shannon Bagwell

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Incumbency in Congress

Incumbency in Congress
Our Amendment
House shall serve no more than five terms of two years in a lifetime with a break after two consecutive terms.
Senate shall serve no more than two terms of six years in a lifetime.
Congressional members shall make no more than $70,000 a year.
House of Rep's salary in 2013 was $193,400
Senate's salary in 2013 was $174,000
Member allowances include; official personnel, paid general office expenses, office space, full furnishings, a free rental place outside of their work place, a mobile office, travel, and full furnishings as well for the rental place and mobile office.
They are allowed to travel on the Government's time and be paid for it.
The record for holding a position in the House is 57 years.
Record for holding a position in Senate is 46 years.
The average length of service in 2008 for House was 10 years(5 terms) and for Senate 12.8 years(2 terms).
The reason why term limits are important because it causes a check & balance for Congress.
Unfortunately, this check and balance can be unreliable. Reelection is no competition, and with a high reelection rate for incumbents it causes a risk that congress abuse their powers, resulting in for example, shirking.

On the later argument for reelections, congress says they need more lengthy terms. In order to make calculated, planned decisions to better serve our country. 2-6 years is not enough time they argue.
If term limits are lenient, it may not affect state lawmakers because their intention in seeking office in state legislature was as a springboard to a higher office.
Term limits will have the most direct impact on individuals with static ambition (wants a political career in one particular office).
Lawmakers with static ambition are most likely to be found in highly professional legislature.
Term limits will have the least affect on politicians with discrete ambition

We chose this Amendment because we believe that it is unfair for the same politicians to run the house and the senate year after year for 15 or more years per person.
The reelection rate is very high, so we suggest that limiting the terms that can be served would not only allow more politicians to serve, but also it would give us "fresh" minds in congress every so often, but not too often where there could be no change.
Limiting the amount of money Congress makes will make staying in Congress for as long as they can a less desirable career.
In the late 1700s, when our country was just starting to get on its feet, congressional members would usually serve one or two terms then go back to their lives. 35% of members of the House retired before every election.
In the mid 1800s, the country started to grow and with it, so did Congress. Committees and staffs enlarged, and the legislative jobs became more complicated. The average length of House service doubled to eight years, and by 1901 incumbents outnumbered freshmen by a large margin.
Between the 1970’s and the 1980’s, incumbents received 7% more points than non-incumbents would have gotten in elections, increasing from 2% in the 1950's.
As of 2012, 9 in 10 Congressional members that run for reelection are reelected.
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