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Do We Want a 'Lame Duck' Congress?

The piece ignores the problem with a measure as drastic as term limitation. State-imposed term limitations would only exacerbate the ineffectiveness of Congress by further diminishing the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches and by upsetting the balance of power between the states.Much popular discontent with Congress is due to its growing weakness relative to the executive branch. Term limitations will do nothing to restore Congress' strength and leadership. To the contrary, a president will be even more likely to run rough-shod over junior legislators than over highly experienced congressmen. A state's residents may want to enact limitations as a way of removing other states' congressmen who they find objectionable. Placing term limitations on a state's own representatives, however, will not put a cap on the power of other states' representatives. Opportunistic states will cheer on their neighbors to pass such legislation, but will not do the same. I'm not an advocate of term limitations. There is no substitute for voter responsibility. But if popular support is great enough to enact such a measure, it should be enacted nationwide. Emily Sims, Des Moines

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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