Republican Congressman Chip Roy provided support for congressional term limits during a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday. In the process, Roy called Congress “disastrously broken” and said one of the arguments against term limits is “insane.”
“First of all, the Congress is disastrously broken,” he started.”There is no other way to put it, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on, no matter what part of the ideological spectrum you sit, it is disastrously broken. There are a lot of examples I could give, but the 33 trillion examples is probably the best one.”
That was in reference to America’s $33 trillion national debt.
“(Congress) is just an abject failure and has been for my entire life,” he said. “I am 51 years old. I am hard-pressed to think of many things that this body has done over those 51 years that are particularly all that productive for the grand scheme of advancing this republic’s interest. It’s just broken and I don’t know anybody in America, across the country, for the most part, who doesn’t feel that way.”
Congress polls consistently below 20 percent while term limits poll consistently at about 80 percent, he said.
“There’s a reason for that,” he said.
While elections allow for term limits, Roy said there is gerrymandering for political purposes and gerrymandering for the Voting Rights Act that perpetuate parties and members of Congress that consistently stay there.
“This idea that expertise is somehow the reason to say, ‘Oh we should just keep staying here in perpetuity,’ I think is insane,” Roy said.
With the average length of time served in Congress at 8.9 years, he said the problem isn’t rank-and-file members do not come and go, but it is that a “handful of octogenarians sit around here and screw this place up repeatedly, indefinitely.”
“They continue to run this place right into the ground,” he said. “That’s the truth. And we just reward it.”
For the members who oppose term limits, Roy said they could adopt a rule that states anyone returning for a seventh term would not receive a salary.
“You just want to come here and share your expertise, great,” he said. “Great, come here and share all of your infinite wisdom. But I think this place does need new blood. I think it does need turnover.
“This place has got to change. And that’s what the American people are demanding. And I don’t know, if 82 percent of the American people think, ‘You know what, maybe we ought to limit how long people can sit here and continue to do damage to the United States of America,’ perhaps, perhaps we should listen to them in a representative democracy. And I think that’s part of the big problem — we never really listen to the people in this representative democracy. And, yes, a republic requires to make good decisions and figure out how to do it, but in the end, we should try to represent the overall views of the American people. I am pretty confident that a majority of the constituents in every state of the union support some form of term limits.”