Congress-Term Limits

I get a lot of emails and messages that have a very succinct kind of message about what voters want in Congress, and that is term limits.  Are they really needed?

I decided to check how much turnover there has been in recent years in the Congress, to get a snapshot of how much turnover there really is in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

The answer is probably more than you think.

Let's take the U.S. Senate.  We'll compare the current list of Senators to the Senate that was sitting in January of 2003, after the 2002 elections.

Of the 100 Senators that were in office in January, 2003, how many of them are still serving?

Bzzzzzt.

Your answer is 65.  So, in the last seven and a half years, 35% of the Senate has turned over, either by resignation, election to other office, death or election defeat.

So, with a 35% turnover rate in the Senate, what do you think the turnover has been in the House since the first of 2003?

Bzzzzzt.

Your answer is 37% - as 163 of the 435 members who were there in January of 2003 are no longer serving in the House.

And both of those numbers for the House and Senate will most likely go above 40% after the November elections.

That means, in the last eight years - from January 2003 to January 2011, both the House and Senate will have had over 40% turnover.

That's a pretty big chunk without term limits.

I'll let you determine whether term limits would be a good idea or not.  They are unlikely to happen, given that a constitutional amendment would be needed.

I get a lot of emails and messages that have a very succinct kind of message about what voters want in Congress, and that is term limits.  Are they really needed? I decided to check how much turnover there has been in recent years in the Congress, to get a ...