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Trump pushes for congressional term limits

  • Author: Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call
  • Updated: October 18, 2016
  • Published October 18, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Grand Junction, Colo., on Tuesday. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday pledged that if elected he will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits for members of Congress.

"Decades of failure in Washington and decades of special interest dealing must and will come to an end," Trump said at a Colorado rally during which he announced his support for limiting tenures in the House and Senate.

The billionaire businessman did not specify how many terms lawmakers could serve. Senators serve terms of six years and House members serve two-year terms.

Trump said instituting congressional term limits is part of his plan to "drain the swamp" in Washington. That plan also includes a swath of ethics and lobbying rules Trump's campaign announced Monday, including a five-year lobbying ban for executive officials and members of Congress and their staffs.

"We have to break the cycle of corruption," Trump said, arguing that term limits will open the door to "new voices."

Term limits will not only stop government corruption, they will end economic stagnation, he said.

Trump did not detail how he would build support for a constitutional amendment to adopt term limits, which is no easy feat. A constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote of the House and Senate and ratification from the states — either through approval of three-fourths of the country's state legislatures or a ratifying convention.

The idea limiting terms is not popular among members of Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke about his opposition to the idea in his book, "The Long Game," explaining that senior legislators have "a greater perspective, and with it, a greater insight and sense of courage."

The Kentucky Republican wrote: "To put it bluntly, term limits is one of the worst ideas that's ever come on the American scene. … I knew that we didn't need to legislate term limits, because we already had them. They're called elections."

Trump, too, believes in the power of elections and is portraying his presidential bid as a referendum on the political establishment.

"On November 8, the arrogance of Washington, D.C., will come face to face with the righteousness of the American voter," Trump said.

(Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.)

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