Over the past year, the mailbox at the U.S. Term Limits offices in Fairfax, Va., has been filling up with signed pledges (over 188 so far) from Congressional candidates that promise to cosponsor and vote for 3/2 term limits bills like those introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Rep. David Schweichert of Arizona.
But over the last week or so we've been pleased -- maybe a bit surprised -- to find written commitments from a couple of incumbents.
The first arrived from Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina's 5th Congressional District, a signed U.S. Term Limits pledge. Interestingly, Rep. Mulvaney didn't support term limits until he was elected, an unusual phenomenon. As the second-term Congressman notes on his website, "Before I got into government I opposed term limits ... Having seen government up close, I have learned my lesson. I support term limits."
Then we received a letter from Wisconsin's Rep. Reid Ribble, 8th District, in which he pledges support for 3/2 term limits legislation and offers an idea for getting it done.
"As you are aware, I am a firm believer in term limits for Congress. I believe many of the systemic problems that our government faces would be reduced or eliminated if politicians did not make their time in Congress a career."
Rep. Ribble notes that the big hurdle is getting Congress members to term limit themselves, so he suggests that a grandfather clause be added to get it through Congress. If this is enacted, he writes, "Over time, serving in Congress will again be a privilege, not a career, similar to the way the Founding Fathers originally intended."
Mulvaney and Ribble join a growing minority of incumbents on the Hill taking action on this issue. After November, as our stack of pledges indicate, there will be a lot more.
(Top left, Rep. Reid Ribble's term limits letter; Right, Rep. Mick Mulvaney)