Congressman Fitzpatrick, Peers Talk Term Limits With President Trump

Brian Fitzpatrick. File photo.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

President Donald Trump sat down with a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, to discuss term limits Wednesday afternoon.

The discussion in the Oval Office, according to Republican Fitzpatrick, went well and the president was supportive of the proposal to impose term limits on elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate.

“I asked him to tweet about it,” the congressman said.

Congressmen Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin; Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California and a Bucks County native; Jodey Arrington, a Republican from Texas; and Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat from Texas, all met with Trump. Fitzpatrick said the entire group were freshman serving their first term in Congress.

Speaking by phone after stepping off the floor of the House late Tuesday afternoon, Fitzpatrick told that the bipartisan group of lawmakers support a constitutional amendment to add term limits.

Donald Trump in late May.
Credit: Elizabeth Fraser

Fitzpatrick explained to Trump that he saw corruption in government while leading the FBI’s Political Corruption Unit. The direct correlation between corruption and length of time served in office became clear to the future congressman.

“If you stay in one place too long you become that place. And [Washington D.C.] is not a good place to stay too long,” Fitzpatrick said. 

Fitzpatrick said one option that came up while discussing term limits with the president was making the legislation for representatives and senators who are part of the 115th Congress and future classes. The change could make the legislation more appealing to longtime elected members who have been hesitant to support term limits.

Calling an overhaul of the system a “monumental” effort, Fitzpatrick said the group that met with the president wants to “bring institutional change to Washington.” He added that elected officials should be “citizen legislators” and not career congressmen.

Moving forward, it will likely be an uphill battle to get term limits imposed but the lawmakers who met with Trump want to work with the White House to get it done.

A constitutional amendment would be required for term limits, according to a mid-1990s U.S. Supreme Court decision. To be approved, any constitutional amendment needs two-thirds support in both houses of Congress and three-fourths of state legislatures.

Fitzpatrick seemed confident term limits could be imposed and said there is strong support in the 115th Congress.

File photo
Credit: William Lockwood

A 2016 Rasmussen poll found 74 percent of likely voters were in favor of term limits for Congress, and an early 2018 poll by McLaughlin and Associates found 82 percent of Americans in support of term limits.

Since taking office in January 2017, Fitzpatrick has pushed legislation that would limit members of the House of Representatives and Senate to 12 years of total service, hold pay for Congress if there is no budget, require a balanced budget, require single-issue legislation, move congressional redistricting to non-partisan commissions, and end congressional pensions for life,

Fitzpatrick said he also updated the president on “Right to Try” legislation, adding he supports both the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The congressman confirmed that during the meeting with Trump, he asked the president to support the hard-working members of the FBI.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001