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 MeadowsJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Trump keeps tight grip on GOP Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons 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 TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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 McConnellGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left 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.