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Freedom Caucus chair wants to work with Trump on term limits

Freedom Caucus chair wants to work with Trump on term limits
© Camille Fine

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Trump tests negative for COVID-19 on day of debate The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-N.C.) said during an interview on The Hill’s Power Politics podcast that one cure for what ails Congress could be term limits

“I think we need to really start talking about it,” Meadows said, adding he and some of his colleagues hope to meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE soon to discuss term limits, which Trump supports.

“The fact is this place is broken,” Meadows said a day after House Republicans approved a short-term spending bill that would defer major budget and policy debates into February. The Senate faces a midnight deadline on Friday to pass a government funding bill before a shutdown takes effect.

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Meadows and other members of the conservative Freedom Caucus backed the House spending bill, but lamented a process that would delay tough decisions with fourth continuing resolution since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year.

“If anything is a case for term limits, yesterday was,” he said.

“Where you may not get full support for term limits on Capitol Hill or within the Beltway, I sure do on Main Street,” Meadows added during a wide-ranging interview in his office.

“And I’m at the point that if we can’t fix the process here, then we need to fix the fact that we need to change people — so we can fix the process.”

Meadows, elected in 2012, said he would enthusiastically abide by term limits if tenure restrictions applied to all lawmakers. He predicted the president would sign legislation that could launch the lengthy process of trying to amend the Constitution, if a bill reached Trump’s desk.

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Trump campaigned on the idea of term limits as part of his “drain the swamp” pledge, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight | Landlords, housing industry sue CDC to overturn eviction ban Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE (R-Ky.) threw cold water on the idea, dismissing it out of hand.

“I would say we have term limits now. They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate,” McConnell said during a post-election press conference in 2016.

Decades ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) failed to get House support for term limits, an idea included in the GOP “Contract with America,” which helped the party capture the House majority in 1994. 

Opponents at the time argued that mandatory limits would increase the influence over government wielded by unelected federal bureaucrats, K Street lobbyists and veteran Capitol Hill staff members.

Asked if he would voluntarily term-limit himself, Meadows, who is running for reelection, smiled.

“If everyone would take a term-limit pledge, where I’m not disadvantaging myself, I’ll sign on tomorrow,” he said.

“But you can’t term-limit yourself when you know `the swamp’ will be alive and well here, and that means all the people willing to change things go home, and all the people who want it to stay the same, stay here.” 

Power Politics, hosted by The Hill’s Alexis Simendinger, airs Saturday mornings.