Thursday, November 24, 2011

Huntsman: "We need term limits in Congress"

The latest presidential contender to weigh in on Congressional term limits is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. He mentioned his support for the idea as an aside during the Nov. 22 CNN presidential debate on foreign policy.

“We need a Washington that works,” said Huntsman. “We have a Congress that can’t even figure out how to balance our budget. They need term limits, by the way. We’ve gotta get our house in order…"

I cheered, surprised. But apparently his advocacy of term limits is not new.

“Governor Huntsman has been an advocate of term limits since his time as governor of Utah," Joel Sawyer, Huntsman’s South Carolina director, told the Nashua Telegraph. “He believes they’re needed in Congress, because much like his tax plan that eliminates corporate welfare and loopholes, it would go a long way toward breaking up entrenched special interests and ending crony capitalism."

Of course it would. Huntsman paired his support for term limits with a lifetime ban on lobbying after a Congress member has been term limited. This package has become part of his stump speech in New Hampshire.

But he went further in an interview with this on Nov. 21. Not only do we need term limits, but Huntsman sees a role for the U.S. president in instituting them.

“We need term limits in Congress,” he said. “We need restrictions on members of Congress who then go into lobbying. We've got some structural problems here that make it very difficult to do the work of the people. And to have a president who's willing to use the bully pulpit in identifying and pointing out those issues, as well, would be a very good thing in this country.”

Huntsman joins former Gov. Gary Johnson – the sole signatory of the U.S. Term Limits presidential pledge – in calling for a presidential role in establishing term limits on Congress. Rep. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have also spoken fondly of the popular reform, while Gov. Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman and Newt Gingrich are opposed.