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Senate Votes on Term Limits, Earmark Ban
02-05-2012, 03:50 PM,
Senate Votes on Term Limits, Earmark Ban
The U.S. Senate voted on two amendments yesterday that show exactly how tightly politicians cling to power.

The first vote was on a resolution I offered expressing support for a Constitutional Amendment limiting the number of terms someone can serve in Congress.

The term limits amendment was defeated 24-75 with 52 Democrats and 23 Republicans opposing it.

Click here to see how your Senators voted on term limits.

The most common argument I hear against term limits from politicians is that they're unnecessary because "that's what elections are for."

I certainly agree that we should use elections to remove people from office (and there's probably nobody in Congress who works harder to achieve that goal than me), but incumbents have a significant advantage over challengers. We need term limits to ensure there is a regular rotation of the people who represent us.

The longer someone serves, the more power they accumulate, and the more they lose touch with the voters who elected them. It's no surprise that the senators who opposed my amendment have been in the Senate an average of 13.6 years compared to just 6.4 years for those who supported it.

The second vote was on an amendment offered by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to permanently ban congressional earmarks.

Toomey's earmark ban was also defeated 40-59 with 46 Democrats and 13 Republicans opposing it.

Click here to see how your Senators voted on the earmark ban.

The most common arguments I hear in favor of earmarks is that the Constitution gives Congress the "power of the purse" and Members of Congress know their districts better than government bureaucrats.

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to appropriate funds, but it doesn't say those funds should be allocated in a way that puts seniority and campaign contributions ahead of merit and common sense. And in most cases, the federal government has no business operating these programs. They should either be devolved to the states or eliminated entirely.

I've heard some say we should just get rid of the bad earmarks and keep the good ones, but earmarking is an all-or-nothing enterprise.You see, if you vote against a single earmark (no matter how bad it is), the committee chairmen will take away your projects. This is why lawmakers will often vote for budget-busting omnibus spending bills just to secure one or two tiny earmarks.

We could have won majority support for Toomey's earmark ban yesterday if every Republican had supported it, but many in my own party are still reluctant to give up their earmark addiction.

The outcome of these two votes is yet another a reminder of why we must remain focused on electing true conservative leaders to the U.S. Senate -- leaders like Josh Mandel in Ohio, Ted Cruz in Texas, Don Stenberg in Nebraska, and Mark Neumann in Wisconsin.

We can count on them to support common sense reforms like term limits and the earmark ban. We can count on them to fight to restore America's greatness.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. I'm honored to join you in this effort to take our country back.


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