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Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Francis Rooney introduce amendment to set term limits on Congress

Cruz introduced a similar proposal in 2017

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would set term limits on members of Congress.

"For too long, members of Congress have abused their power and ignored the will of the American people," Cruz said in a news release. "Term limits on members of Congress offer a solution to the brokenness we see in Washington, D.C. It is long past time for Congress to hold itself accountable. I urge my colleagues to submit this constitutional amendment to the states for speedy ratification."

U.S. senators would be limited to two six-year terms and members of the U.S. House of Representatives would be capped at three two-year terms, according to the amendment introduced Thursday. Cruz introduced a similar proposal in January 2017.

"The American people support term limits by an overwhelming margin. I believe that as lawmakers, we should follow the example of our Founding Fathers, Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who refused to consider public service as a career," Rooney said in the release. "Our history is replete with examples of leaders who served their country for a time and returned to private life, or who went on to serve in a different way."

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and David Perdue (R-Ga.) co-sponsored the joint resolution.

What does it take to amend the Constitution?

The process to amend the Constitution begins with the joint resolution in Congress.

The proposed language of the amendment must be approved by two-thirds of both chambers, according to the National Congress of State Legislatures.

Once approved by Congress, the national archivist sends the information to the governor of each state. At least three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment for it to take effect.

What else?

Dozens of resolutions are proposed each year. Last year, 120 were introduced and 89 were introduced in 2017.

To date, 33 amendments have been proposed to the states. Of those, 27 were ratified, according to NCSL.

The last time an amendment reached ratification was in 1992. The 27th Amendment was ratified to prevent members of Congress from giving themselves pay raises during a current session. It was first proposed 202 years earlier.

One last thing…
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