Ted Cruz Arguing for Congressional Term Limits in Act of 'Political Theater'

Many Texans are demanding that Sen. Ted Cruz resign.
Many Texans are demanding that Sen. Ted Cruz resign. Gage Skidmore
Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and several Republican colleagues reintroduced a constitutional amendment that would set congressional term limits.

If Cruz’s proposal were to succeed, it would restrict U.S. senators to two six-year terms and representatives to three two-year terms — an idea that most Americans like.

They shouldn’t get their hopes up, said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University.

“There’s absolutely zero [congressional] support for federal term limits,” Jones said.

Cruz also spearheaded the effort to keep the loser of the 2020 presidential election in office for another four years, so it may surprise some that he’s trying to rein in federal tenure. Other cynics have been quick to point out that Cruz’s move comes as calls for his resignation mount.

Indeed, Cruz is probably using the proposal “more as political theater than as substantive public policy,” Jones said.

“It allows you to propose something that will appeal to the base, but has no hope whatsoever of actually getting adopted and therefore, ever applied to you,” he said.

Cruz reintroduced the legislation after pushing for it in 2017 and 2019. Former President Donald Trump expressed support for the idea, but those bills never made it to the Senate floor, according to the New York Post.

In a statement, Cruz said the nation’s founders would resist the “careerism” present in today’s politics, according to the Post. He went on to write that he will “continue fighting to hold career politicians accountable.”

"Can we set a term limit for Pelosi that ends tomorrow." – Twitter user @BrantPeacher

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“Every year, Congress spends billions of dollars on giveaways for the well-connected: Washington insiders get taxpayer money and members of Congress get re-elected, all while the system fails the American people,” Cruz said.

For an amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution, it would require approval by two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Although some states might go for the move, Jones said getting Congress to approve it would just be "a bridge too far.”

Even if a congressional Democrat supported it in principle, Jones said they likely wouldn’t go near something Cruz is backing.

Cruz’s latest attempt will provide him with political ammo, Jones said. By filing it with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in control of the agenda, Cruz is putting pressure on the liberals to bring it to floor, which they aren’t likely to do.

Regardless, Cruz’s Twitter announcement on the amendment inspired hope among many social media users. One commenter wrote that they disagree with him on “a number of issues” but are “100% behind this initiative.” Another asked whether they could set a term limit for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “ends tomorrow.”

Term limits are especially popular in North Texas. According to a poll conducted last summer, 72% of registered voters in Congressional District 24 — which covers portions of Tarrant, Denton and Dallas counties — said they favored such a measure, according to advocacy organization U.S. Term Limits.

Even if did get the green light, Cruz’s own career in deep-red Texas would be secure for some time; Chron reported that 2036 would be the soonest he’d be booted.

Still, Cruz critics can dream.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter