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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration


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Congress: corrupting elections through district hopping

Photo Credit: photo via wikipedia under creative commons license
In the United States, Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government. Their meetings happens at the US Capitol in Washington D.C.

Congress has been corrupting elections for centuries through a loophole that has remained open.  People can serve their entire lives in Congress which leads to this on-going problem.

The Issue

To start with the issue at hand, individuals in Congress take advantage of a constitutional loophole that allows the serving of more terms than intended. The action of hopping from district to district or House to Senate permits the same people to do the same job. This is corruption because it wasn’t meant to be a feature of Congress.

There have been several individuals who have been in Congress alone that have served over 50 years. This is why term limits need to be introduced. According to Wikipedia, “many of the laws enacted limited terms for both the state legislature and in the state’s delegation to Congress. As they pertain to Congress, these laws were struck down as unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995), in which the court ruled, on a 5–4 vote, that state governments cannot limit the terms of members of the national government.”

Some argue that setting terms would force good politicians to retire. When a politician takes office, there is a period of time where they have to learn about the process and the job. They also need time to feel “out the relationships, committees, caucusing, and office management requirements as they go along.” Some feel that if the terms of the office are set, these new politicians would rush into a job they aren’t fully skilled to handle.  It might also mean that legislation might move along quicker, which can be good at time and hasty in others.

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A great solution is to add hard-line term limits. As of right now they can serve an unlimited amount of terms but they can’t be consecutive. Through district hopping or going from the Senate to the House (and vise versa) allows this to be completely bypassed.

This allows for people serving an entire lifetime in Congress. This is an issue because no new ideas are brought to the table. It’s just the same people pushing the same agenda, and nothing different gets done or even brought to the table.

The same things are continuously pushed for until they pass or are completely denied. This poses an unfair precedent for and up-and-coming politicians who have more progressive ideas.

Solution issues and resolutions

One issue with the proposed solution is new congressmen and congresswomen will have less time to find their flow and develop connections. This can be an issue as adding a term limit can hamper their performance in the short run. Along with this if there is a good congressmen or congresswomen in office they only have so much time before they are not allowed to serve any more. However, some solutions to these issues is that they should be more invested in their position and develop connections before taking their time in office. This can be done through email or some type of meeting where they get to know their potential coworkers beforehand. Also, with the potential to serve up to 10 years in Congress alone should be enough to get comfortable and aware of their job.


For example, since 1873 there have been 32 members that have served 40 years or more in the House of Representatives alone, of those 25 were associated with the Democratic party and 7 with the Republican party. Similarly in the senate there have been 25 members that have served 35 years or longer in the Senate, with the most being 51 years.

Joe Biden has 36 years served in the Senate, which doesn’t include his time as President and Vice President. Lastly Nancy Pelosi has served in Congress for nearly 33 years. These are just a few key examples of the corruption that has happened. This will only continue to happen until something is done about it. 


In this quote Holly Robichaud explains why we need term limits, “Well they didn’t envision what the campaign system has become.”  “Ninety percent of the money from PACs and lobbyists go to incumbents. It makes it almost impossible for a challenger to win. So, by implementing term limits, you’re creating a level playing field for people to go out there and get elected.”(CBS) She went on to further elaborate that this isn’t a one-party issue, Democrats, Republicans, and third parties all agree that we need term limits.

“Like everything in our politics, it is a complicated solution. On the one hand, term limits would be great to get career politicians out of Washington. However, with longevity comes experience and it is important to have people with experience making the decisions that new-comers would have a trouble making,” explains English teacher Sal Cerchio.

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Congress: corrupting elections through district hopping