Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis continues to talk term limits for members of Congress. It was an idea that was tried 20 years ago: Republicans running for Congress in 1994 promised it, and when they won a majority, they called for a vote a constitutional amendment limiting senators to two six-year terms, and House members to six two-year terms. The vote was 227-204 in favor, short of the 290 needed to amend the Constitution. Three other term limits bills failed to get 200 votes. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Thornton case that term limits imposed on members of Congress by state law could not be enforced.
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Yet the issue remains popular with the public, and Oberweis talks about it in his stump speech. “I worked hard for state limits in Springfield, and I will take that idea to Washington, although it is going to be incredibly difficult to make it happen. But for heaven’s sake if eight years is good enough for the president of the United States, why isn’t eight years good enough for Congress?” he said.
Oberweis uses the issue to whack U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is running for a fourth term, but he says there are Republicans who’ve been in the Senate too long too. “Absolutely. I think eight years is enough for Congress. Two terms (12 years) is enough for the U.S. Senate,” he said. Seventeen senators have more seniority than Durbin, and seven are tied with him. Of those 24 senators, 13 are Democrats and 11 are Republicans. Durbin is against term limits, saying that for some politicians, 30 years isn’t long enough, and for some two years is too much.