Paul Ryan: I support term limits

October 15, 2012

GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who is running for his eighth term on Capitol Hill, told an audience member Monday morning at a town hall meeting in Waukesha, Wis., that he supports congressional term limits.

“There was a time in American history when our country term-limited the presidency,” a man in the audience at Carroll University asked Ryan. “Would you and Governor Romney consider a proposal to term-limit the members of Congress? Example, two six-year terms for U.S. senators and six two-year terms for a member of Congress.”

Ryan responded that he’s “always been a fan of term limits.”

“Yeah, I co-sponsored that when I was in Congress,” he said. “I agree with that. I've always supported that in Congress. That takes a constitutional amendment. What you don't want to do is have a state do it to itself and short-change its seniority and its clout in Congress. But I've always been a fan of term limits. I've always supported that. I've always believed that this should be something that you serve temporary, not for an entire lifetime.”

A Ryan spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for details on term-limit legislation the congressman has co-sponsored.

A search of the THOMAS legislative database shows that since Ryan entered Congress in January 1999, at least 16 House measures have been introduced proposing such a constitutional amendment. Ryan does not appear as a sponsor or co-sponsor of any of the 16 measures.

One of those measures, H.J.Res. 2, was introduced by then-Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.) in January 1999, the same month Ryan took office. It would have limited senators to two six-year terms and House members to six two-year terms, the same number of years as suggested by the man in the Waukesha crowd.

Ryan has voiced support for a constitutional amendment on term limits since his first congressional race in 1998. During that race, he was targeted by a group, Americans for Term Limits, for declining to sign a three-term-limit pledge, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Ryan explained at the time that since they were not applicable to all members, he believed such term-limit pledges could result in reducing the power of some districts and states on Capitol Hill.

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