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Madison Cawthorn Pushes Idea for 12-Year Terms in the House and Senate

  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn says he wants to impose 12-year term limits on the House and Senate.
  • Cawthorn told Fox News that he is introducing the legislation to “drain the swamp.”
  • “The main currency here in Washington is really secrets about people or dirt that you can get on other personnel,” Cawthorn said.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn says he wants to limit members of the House and Senate to 12 years of service. 

Speaking to Fox News Digital on Tuesday, Cawthorn said he would be introducing a piece of legislation that pushes for members of Congress to be limited to six two-year terms, and senators to two six-year terms. 

The 26-year-old, who is currently the youngest member of Congress, told Fox News that he thought 12 years was a “reasonable amount of time” for a lawmaker to make a mark on Capitol Hill. 

“If you’re not able to accomplish your goals in over a decade, I really don’t want you to represent me anyway,” Cawthorn said. He added that he is attempting to “drain the swamp,” singling out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “serving for longer than (he has) been alive.” 

However, the congressman told Fox News that he thought his legislation stood a slim chance of passing this year. However, he added that he wants to launch a “term-limits tour” before the mid-terms, with candidates on the ballot having to pledge whether or not they would back the bill.

“I think the American people deserve a class of elected officials that aren’t entrenched in Washington DC because once you’ve been here for over 12 years, you stop to repel the swamp, and I think you kind of start to morph into it,” Cawthorn added. 

“The main currency here in Washington is really secrets about people or dirt that you can get on other personnel,” Cawthorn said. “Once people have been in Washington for so long, they have these opportunities to become really corrupt, and they have these opportunities to have people gain leverage over them.”

Cawthorn’s legislation follows a constitutional amendment floated by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in 2019, that proposed restricting senators to two six-year terms, and House members to three two-year terms. Cruz re-introduced the amendment in January 2021, though it has yet to pass. 

Currently, terms in both houses of Congress are unlimited, though there are term limits for committee chairs.



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