如果將議員所作所為與人民意願之間的鴻溝視為議會民主成敗的指標，則二十世紀80s年代以降的美國議會政治，可以說是失敗的。一件又一件的國會政治醜聞中，美國老百姓發現，他們所信任的議員們已經成為腐敗的新統治階級，美國人民與議員之間的關係因此產生微妙變化。人民從尋找「好」的政治人物轉向尋求「議員連任設限制度（簡稱「任限制度」）」(term limits)的救贖，希望以限制議員連任次數的方式，更嚴格規範議員行為以徹底改變美國代議民主(representative democracy)的體質。巧合的是，二＋世紀90s年代以降，在民主大道上蹣跚學步的台灣人民，也同樣產生嫌惡代議民主的現象，這一層連結使得美國經驗對於台灣民主改革該如何走下去的問題深具啟發性。本文最主要的目的，就是引介「任限制度」在美國議會民主領域中的發展與結果，希望對於台灣的代議民主改革之路，提供除了停止基層選舉、限制候選人資格、或是國會減半以外，多一項制度性的選擇。藉由討論美國任限制度的起源與發展、美國各界對該制度的政策辯論內涵、及學界對核心議題「芬諾矛盾」(Fenno's Paradox)的討論，作者認為美國任限制度變革的經驗，對台灣的國會改革應該具有下列三項啟示：（一）制度變革需要如聯邦體制下的實驗與創意；（二）制度變革需要開放的充分討論空間；（三）制度變革需要忠實反應人性與集體行為所可能帶來的影響。 If we treat the gap between legislators and their constituency as the criterion for a successful democracy, we can be almost certain that the American congressional politics since the 80s has been a frustrating experience. One by one, congressional scandals have eroded the established trust between American people and their representatives. Consequently, the American people look to term limits for redemption. They wish to change the atmosphere in their representative democracy by limiting the number of terms their representatives can pursuit. It is interesting that in the 90s people in Taiwan have the same feeling toward their congressional politics as it is in the U. S. As a result, the experience of the term limits movement in the U. S. can be served as an inspirational example for people in Taiwan. Also, term limits can be seen as an institutional alternative to congressional reform on Taiwan, besides the proposals such as abandoning legislative elections at the township level establishing more rigid candidate qualification, and downsizing the Legislature Yuan. After discussing the development, the policy debate and the key issue "Fenno's Paradox" of the term limits movement, author concludes that the U. S. experience in congressional institutional change can contribute to Taiwanese future congressional reform in three ways: (1) congressional institutional change needs experimentation and innovation as it is working under the American federal system; (2) congressional institutional change need an established public sphere to deliberate competing proposals; (3) congressional institutional change need to be rooted in our understanding on the nature of individual and collective action.