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Trump proposes term limits for Congress to 'drain the swamp'

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 07:17
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Donald Trump called for term limits for members of Congress on Tuesday, saying it would help "drain the swamp" in Washington.

[LAS VEGAS] Donald Trump called for term limits for members of Congress on Tuesday, saying it would help "drain the swamp" in Washington.

"If I am elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress," Mr Trump said at a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to a roar of approval from the audience.

He said that US House members should be limited to six years of service and that senators should be limited to 12 years, speaking in a separate rally in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The proposal faces potentially insurmountable obstacles. A federal constitutional amendment would be required to impose term limits, and thus far Congress has lacked the votes to send a proposal to the states for ratification.

Previously, Mr Trump has said he would consider seeking term limits for Congress.

Mr Trump has been asserting for days that the presidential election is "rigged" against him. He has lost ground in opinion polls after the release of a vulgar 2005 Access Hollywood video and accusations from several women that Mr Trump sexually assaulted them.

On Monday, Mr Trump announced that his administration would ban executive branch officials from lobbying the government for five years after leaving office. He also said Tuesday that he would ask for a ban on White House and congressional officials from "fundraising during working hours".

One of Mr Trump's chief congressional backers, Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, supports term limits. He was with Mr Trump last week at events in his state.

Mr Marino proposes that people be allowed to no more than two consecutive six-year terms in the Senate or six two-year consecutive terms in the House.

During the presidential primaries, several of Mr Trump's challengers also proposed term limits, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ben Carson.

Mr Cruz was one of the strongest voices, arguing that term limits would help crush the "Washington cartel".

There are no recent public polls of where Americans stand on term limits, though Gallup found in Jan 2013 that 75 per cent supported implementing term limits for Congress.

Until now, Mr Trump had stopped short of embracing the concept.

"Without the term limits, you have two different scales. But we will see what happens," he told a questioner at an August event in North Carolina.

"It is a very good and very fair question and one that I've heard many times. We'll look into this very strongly. OK?"

Congress is deeply unpopular among Americans: Just 23 per cent of likely voters had a favourable view of the institution in a Bloomberg Politics poll taken Sept 21-24. Two-thirds had an unfavourable view.

BLOOMBERG