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How long is each term in Congress?

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Quick Answer

While senators serve 6-year terms in Congress, house representatives have 2-year terms. There is no limit to how many terms a person can serve in congress, and there are differences between what senators and house representatives do while they are there. Federal term limits have been adjusted several times over the course of history.

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Full Answer

During their 6-year term in congress, the 100 senators there can introduce and debate on bills, focus on foreign policies and try impeached officials. In contrast, there are 435 house representatives who have highly specialized roles; they can form committees that have a strong influence on floor debates and they place a lot of emphasis on tax and revenue policies.

Although reformers attempted to push for Congress term limits in the 1990s, in 1995 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it cannot impose them. This became a central focus of the 1994 Republican election campaign, and a bill proposing two 6-year and six 2-year terms as a limit was later introduced in congress. However, as the bill did not attract a strong majority it was not passed into law. Some state legislatures have expressed concerns about the term limits, including Hawaii, Florida, Utah, Idaho and South Dakota.

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