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Freshman lawmakers introduce congressional term limits proposal

May 10, 2018
In The News

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers, all from the freshman class, have released a plan to impose term limits on members of Congress.

The proposal would limit senators to serving two terms and representatives to serving six terms, for a total of 12 years each. The new system, however, would be grandfathered in so that it only applies to the 115th Congress and beyond.

Shortly after the plan was introduced, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) shot a video together standing outside the House, which they posted to Twitter and Facebook.

“I’m here with my friend Ro Khanna. … He’s a Democrat. A very progressive Democrat. But we agree on congressional reform and term limits,” said Gallagher, 34.

The calls for congressional term limits are hardly new. But the push has been reignited by a set of younger lawmakers in the freshman class, including Gallagher, Khanna and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Vicente González (D-Texas.) and Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.).

“I remember in orientation you came up to us and you said, ‘We’ve got to have congressional reform.’ And I know you really took the lead on term limits. It’s something I really believe in,” Khanna, 41, said in the video with Gallagher.

The same group met with President Trump at the White House last month to pitch some of their ideas. The president, who supported term limits as part of his “drain the swamp” pledge, gave the group his full-throated endorsement and directed the lawmakers to come up with a single proposal.

“I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits,” Trump tweeted after the meeting. “I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. #DrainTheSwamp”

But the plan faces an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, where there is entrenched opposition to term limits.

And imposing congressional term limits requires a constitutional amendment — a rare and immensely difficult task that requires two-thirds support from both the House and Senate, as well as ratification by three-fourths of the states.