For the first time in over two decades, a pair of Democratic congressmen have stopped introducing legislation to repeal presidential term limits.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pushed six bills to repeal the 22nd Amendment between 1995 and 2005, and Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) led five attempts between 2005 and 2013.
Neither congressman has done so under President Trump.
The 22nd Amendment, which states “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice,” was ratified in 1951, after President Franklin Roosevelt ignored the precedent set by George Washington to not seek re-election after two terms. Roosevelt continued to run and won four terms as president.
Since Reps. Hoyer and Serrano have ignored repeated requests by reporters to comment on the subject this year, it is unclear if they chose not to introduce their clockwork legislation this year because of a distaste for the sitting president.
It is not necessarily an issue of them wanting to repeal term limits for Democratic presidents only, since the congressmen did propose a repeal of the 22nd Amendment during George W. Bush’s presidency.
While George W. Bush was in office in 2005, Rep. Hoyer said in a statement: “While I am not a supporter of the current president, I feel there are good public policy reasons for a repeal of this amendment.”
So, perhaps their conduct in refusing to introduce the same legislation is a result of the deeper conflict in today’s political climate. Any proposals that could benefit the other side of the aisle are seen as treason by one’s base.
It’s a sad reality that underscores the harsh adversarial political system of today.