North Carolina Republican House Speaker Tim Moore is proposing a national constitutional convention with the goal of changing the structure of the federal government through amendments to the constitution.
Establishing term limits for members of Congress is one of his goals.
A call for term limits is anything but new.
“If you do kind of a public opinion poll and say, 'Do you like term limits?', most people say, 'Yeah I like them, and I like them a lot,'” said Western Carolina University politics professor Chris Cooper.
But states don’t have the power to mandate term limits for their representatives in Washington. They, however, can call for a meeting of states to add amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
“There are a number of other states that would have to do it, but it’s moving the ball in the right direction,” Moore told Spectrum News last week.
Thirty-four states would have to pass resolutions for a convention to happen. And so far — according to the organization U.S. Term Limits — 19 states have passed applications that include congressional term limits.
“This is like threading a needle in the middle of a hurricane,” Cooper said. “It’s just darn near impossible.”
The General Assembly, however, could vote for term limits for themselves. Moore, who’s in his 11th term and considered running for Congress in 2022, did not introduce that.
“The difference between us as state legislators and folks in Congress is this is not our full-time vocation," Moore said. " ... You’ll find we get $13,000 a year."
Supporters often propose term limits, but they have never gained traction in Congress.
"Folks serving their first term say, 'Let’s get new blood in there,'" Cooper said. "Eventually, the fresh blood becomes the old blood, and they tend to like their jobs."
Six members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation — all Republicans — have signed a term limits amendment pledge.
The pledge says they will co-sponsor and vote for a three-term limit for House members and a two-term limit for senators.
All of those members fall within limits currently except for Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., who is in his sixth term. Alignment of support for term limits is not contingent on political party.
Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., is in his fifth term told Spectrum News last year that he does not support having limits.
“Term limits are actually a really bad idea," he told Spectrum News. "They’re very popular, but in effect, they would give the lobbyists and the career bureaucrats and the career staff much more influence."
Although it is not expected that term limits will occur soon, it is expected that politicians will continue to discuss the subject.
Democrat state Rep. Terence Everitt introduced a bill this week that would put term limits on General Assembly members, not letting them serve more than eight cumulative terms.