Wednesday, November 16, 2016

As Trump Embraces Term Limits, Allies in Congress Pull Away

The New York Times reports:
Congressional Republicans are settling in for what they hope is a long run in the majority, but President-elect Donald J. Trump doesn’t want them to get too comfortable.

“We’re going to put on term limits, which a lot of people aren’t happy about, but we’re putting on term limits,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. “We’re doing a lot of things to clean up the system.”

If one thing could put Mr. Trump on a collision course with his new allies on Capitol Hill, it is his embrace of proposals such as term limits and tougher restrictions on allowing lawmakers and top aides to become lobbyists in the lucrative world of Washington influence peddling.

Members of Congress like to talk about returning power to the people, but many would prefer not to vote to limit their own tenure or future employment opportunities. Bringing up term limits now is seen by some as raining on their postelection parade.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, made that quite clear last week when he said the Senate outlook for term limits was severely limited.

“I would say we have term limits now,” Mr. McConnell told reporters. “They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.”

Still, Mr. Trump’s highlighting of his call for term limits — it is No. 1 on his list of priorities to “clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C.” — revives an initiative that has been dormant in Washington for years after Republicans rode it to the House takeover in 1994 but then failed to make it happen.

Mr. Trump found a surprising kindred spirit on term limits on Monday when President Obama seemed to endorse the concept as well.

“I think we want to see new voices and new ideas emerge,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “That’s part of the reason why I think term limits are a really useful thing.”

Aides said later that Mr. Obama might have been referring more to the limit on presidential tenure, and his view that George Washington set the right precedent by leaving after two terms. But his words could certainly be extended to Congress.
Imagine that.