Ted Cruz wants two-term limit for senators – and a third term for himself

Texas senator says he ‘never said I’m going to unilaterally comply’ with his own proposed restriction

Ted Cruz has introduced a bill to limit US senators to two terms in office, thereby removing from Washington what he calls “permanently entrenched politicians … totally unaccountable to the American people”.

On Sunday, however, he said he saw no problem with running for a third term himself.

“I’ve never said I’m going to unilaterally comply,” the Texas senator said.

Cruz was speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation.

Elected to the US Senate in 2012, Cruz emerged as a face of the Republican hard right through stunts including reading Dr Seuss and impersonating Darth Vader during a marathon floor speech and prompting a government shutdown.

Such behaviour did not make him popular in Congress. Al Franken, then a Democratic senator, once said, “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.”

Nonetheless, Cruz challenged strongly for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, finishing the primary second to Donald Trump.

After a brief spell as a rightwing alternative to Trump, Cruz won a second term in 2018 despite a strong challenge from the Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Cruz’s name now features, if not strongly, in polling regarding the notional field for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 – when he will be up for Senate re-election.

Congressional term limits are a popular policy offering on the American right.

Introducing his bill to achieve a constitutional amendment, an effort mounted with Ralph Norman, a House Republican from South Carolina, Cruz said term limits were “critical to fixing what’s wrong with Washington DC”.

Bemoaning “a government run by a small group of special interests and lifelong, permanently entrenched politicians … totally unaccountable to the American people”, he said: “Terms limits brings about accountability that is long overdue.”

On Sunday, his CBS host, Margaret Brennan, said: “You introduced a bill to limit terms to two six-year terms in office for senators. Why aren’t you holding yourself to that standard? You said you’re running for a third term.”

Cruz said: “Well, listen, I’m a passionate defender of term limits. I think that Congress would work much better if every senator were limited to two terms, if every House member were limited to three terms. I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment to put that into the constitution.”

Brennan said: “But you’re still running.”

Cruz said: “And if and when [the term limits amendment] passes I will happily, happily comply. I’ve never said I’m going to unilaterally comply. I’ll tell you what, when the socialists and when the swamp …”

Brennan interrupted, asking: “Are you running for president?”

Cruz carried on, saying “… are ready to leave Washington, I will be more than happy to comply by the same rules that apply for every one. But until then, I’m going to keep fighting for 30 million Texans because they’ve asked me to do” so.

Brennan said: “I think you’ve heard me ask if you’re running for president.”

Cruz said: “I’m running for re-election to the Senate. There’s a reason I’m in Texas today. I’m not in Iowa, I’m in Texas, and I’m fighting for 30 million Texans.”

In 2018, 4.26 million Texans voted to send Cruz back to the Senate. More than 4 million voted to restrict him to one term.


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
'Complicit in big lie': Republican senators Hawley and Cruz face calls to resign
Echoing Biden’s reference to Goebbels, Toomey says colleagues who led vote objections are ‘complicit in the big lie’

Martin Pengelly in New York and Richard Luscombe in Miami

10, Jan, 2021 @3:26 PM

Article image
Beto O'Rourke 'as hopeful as I've ever been' despite narrow loss to Ted Cruz
New Democratic superstar failed to unseat Cruz – but his greatest victory has been wrestling a Republican stronghold back into play

Ed Pilkington in El Paso and Tom Dart in Houston

07, Nov, 2018 @6:52 AM

Article image
Ted Cruz, Obamacare circus performer | Gary Younge

Gary Younge: His pseudo-filibuster over defunding the ACA was doomed to fail, yet the Tea Party sees him as a lion. In truth, he's a clown

Gary Younge

25, Sep, 2013 @4:55 PM

Article image
Ted Cruz: the GOP's self-made monster | Michel Cohen

Michael Cohen: The Texas senator's theatrics over defunding Obamacare will cement grassroots adoration but tear apart the Republican party

Michael Cohen

26, Sep, 2013 @12:45 PM

Article image
Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz could face off in debate – under Senate rules
RNC chief strategist confirms that contest Sanders says would see him square off against ‘reactionary agenda’ would be allowable on Capitol Hill

Ben Jacobs in Washington

26, Jul, 2015 @12:00 PM

Article image
Has gerrymandering made politics more partisan? Ted Cruz argues not | Harry J Enten

Harry J Enten: Redistricting is blamed for polarising Congress. But Ted Cruz shows the cause is red-state voters' choice of strict conservatives

Harry J Enten

12, Oct, 2013 @1:00 PM

Article image
Ted Cruz threatens to burn John Boehner’s book over criticisms
Former Republican House speaker called the Texas senator ‘Lucifer in the flesh’

Martin Pengelly in New York

15, Apr, 2021 @4:23 PM

Article image
Democrats want 'illegal aliens and child molesters' to vote, Ted Cruz says – report
Texas senator tells rightwing group Republicans must block For the People Act or lose power for years

Martin Pengelly and agencies

20, Mar, 2021 @3:21 PM

Article image
Ted Cruz 'taking steps' to renounce Canadian citizenship

Texas senator announced he was hiring lawyers to help extricate him from his apparently unhelpful surplus nationality

Joanna Walters in New York

29, Dec, 2013 @9:14 PM

Article image
Ted Cruz: a maverick who keeps his heartlands happy

The Texan agitator orchestrated the shutdown - and doesn't care if he's not winning friends on the Hill, writes Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts Washington and Tom Dart Houston

05, Oct, 2013 @11:06 PM