Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick says he, President Donald Trump and a bipartisan group of representatives all agreed Wednesday: Congress needs term limits.
After an Oval Office meeting with the president and a bipartisan group of freshman house members, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick says he is hopeful legislation imposing term limits on federal lawmakers can gain momentum in Congress.
President Donald Trump was “receptive” to the idea during the half-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss legislative proposals, said Fitzpatrick, R-8 of Middletown. He added that he told the president that during his time in the FBI he saw a direct correlation between officials’ time in office and propensity for corruption.
“We were all taking the same position: We need legislative term limits,” he said of those participating in the meeting.
Calling the lack of term restrictions a “root issue” in political corruption during a phone interview ahead of an evening vote, Fitzpatrick touted his proposal to cap one’s time in Congress at 12 years as likely the “most restrictive” of the current crop of bills. He expects Trump’s legislative team could tweak proposals.
“I told the president we’re not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he said, calling the process of implementing term limits a “heavy lift” that requires a Constitutional amendment.
After campaigning in 2016 on a push for term limits, Fitzpatrick is renewing that call as he seeks reelection later this year. His Republican primary challenger, attorney Dean Malik, also supports term limits, calling for a cap at 18 years.
“Term limits are essential to prevent the growth of an entrenched political class,” Malik said.
Trump, too, promised to pursue term limits on lawmakers while on the campaign, but — aside from musing in a light speech about abolishing presidential limits — has not made much mention of the issue since taking office.
Fitzpatrick said a meeting with the president can’t be the end of his push, and said he and the others present at Wednesday’s meeting – representatives Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, and Ro Khanna, D-California — plan to craft a bipartisan bill and press the issue in floor speeches.
Asked if a large incoming class of freshman in Congress born of a wave of coming retirements could be advantageous, Fitzpatrick was optimistic.
“I sure hope so,” he said. “It’s always hard to get members of Congress to vote against their own self interests.”