Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, has sent out a call for folks in the GOP to work toward repealing the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution in an op-ed piece published on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.
The 17th Amendment was proposed back in 1912 and was ratified by 36 states on April 8, 1913. The amendment required that senators be chosen by popular votes in each state. Prior to this amendment being ratified, state governments chose two senators to go to Washington.
Here’s more on what Sasse had to say about repealing the amendment via the Daily Caller:
Sasse’s op-ed, titled, “Make the Senate Great Again,” suggested several Senate reforms “aimed at promoting debate, not ending it.”
“What would the Founding Fathers think of America if they came back to life?” Sasse began. “Their eyes would surely bug out first at our technology and wealth. But I suspect they’d also be stunned by the deformed structure of our government. The Congress they envisioned is all but dead. The Senate in particular is supposed to be the place where Americans hammer out our biggest challenges with debate. That hasn’t happened for decades—and the rot is bipartisan.”
“Ratified in 1912, it replaced the appointment of senators by state legislatures with direct election,” he wrote. “Different states bring different solutions to the table, and that ought to be reflected in the Senate’s national debate. The old saying used to be that all politics is local, but today—thanks to the internet, 24/7 cable news and a cottage industry dedicated to political addiction—politics is polarized and national. That would change if state legislatures had direct control over who serves in the Senate.” (RELATED: It’s Time To Repeal The 17th Amendment)
Sasse also included a list of other reforms that he’d like to see including the abolishment of standing committees, requiring senators to make debate appearances, term limits, and one that a lot of folks would absolutely hate, senators would have to live in dorms while working in Washington.
Just imagine that for a second. All of the cushy living arrangements would be tossed out the window and senators wouldn’t have so much incentive to want to stay in office forever.
It was never the intention of the founders for folks who serve in government to make it a permanent career. Our system was designed with the inevitable return to private life of public servants. This keeps people grounded and close to those they are to help represent and govern.
Will this repeal ever happen? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.