The 'Inside the Beltway' Amendment

November 11, 1991

The following suggested amendment to the Constitution, known popularly as "the inside the beltway amendment," was drafted by Theo Lippman Jr. of The Sun editorial page staff and will be introduced in the next session of Congress, if he can find any member of Congress willing to introduce it.

Joint Resolution proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to term limitations.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each house concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission by the Congress.:

"Article -------- "Section 1. No person shall serve in the House of Representatives for more than six two-year terms. No person shall serve in the Senate for more than two six-year terms. No person shall serve in the Congress for more than 12 years.

"Sec. 2. Judges of the Supreme Court and inferior courts located in Washington, D.C., shall retire after 12 years of service, or at age 90 1/2 , whichever comes first. Independent counsels ('special prosecutors') shall retire after 12 years of service.

"Sec. 3. Members of the Senior Executive Service and persons compensated in accordance with the Executive Schedule levels I through V are limited to 12 years cumulative service in and above the lowest level of compensation. Military officers above the rank of lieutenant colonel (Army, Air Force, Marines) and commander (Navy, Coast Guard, Public Heath Service) are limited to 12 years cumulative service in those ranks.

"Sec. 4. The Twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. No person shall serve as president and vice president for more than a combined total of 12 years.

"Sec. 5. No congressional staff member receiving more than the compensation of that of the lowest level of the Senior Executive Service shall be employed by the Congress for more than 12 years.

"Sec. 6. No person residing or working in Washington, D.C. or environs (inside Interstate Highway 495) shall be registered as a lobbyist for longer than 12 years, or be employed for longer than 12 years by a firm whose principal activity is lobbying.

"Sec. 7. No lawyer having an office inside Interstate Highway 495 shall be a member of the federal bar or represent clients before any federal court, department, agency or committee of Congress inside Interstate Highway 495 for a period exceeding 12 years.

"Sec. 8. Foundations, institutions, 'think tanks' and other organizations located inside Interstate Highway 495 which study and/or advocate changes in public policy shall not employ any tTC person in any capacity for longer than 12 years. Persons at such organizations having more than two college degrees shall not be employed for more than 6 years. Joan Claybrook, Ralph Nader and Fred Wertheimer shall leave town within 30 days of the ratification of this article.

"Sec. 9. Employees of 'escort services' operating primarily on Capitol Hill, at the Federal Triangle, at the Pentagon, in Foggy Bottom and in Georgetown shall retire after 12 years of service, or at age 29 1/2 , whichever comes first.

"Sec. 10. Press credentials authorizing the holders to cover Congress, the White House, all other Executive Branch departments, the regulatory agencies, the Supreme Court or the Washington Redskins shall not be issued to anyone having worked within Interstate Highway 495 for any journalistic enterprise(s), regardless of where the corporate headquarter(s) of such enterprise(s) may be located, for longer than 12 years. The Federal Communications Commission shall deny broadcast licenses to corporations employing journalists inside Interstate Highway 495 for longer than 12 years. David Brinkley shall leave town within 24 hours of the ratification of this article.

"Sec. 11. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

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