Fitzpatrick: Nation needs ‘rebirth of belief’ in leaders, institutions

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Monday introduced three constitutional amendments and four standalone bills that he said aim to reform Congress and restore Americans’ faith in the elections process.

“I believe that these ideas introduced today transcend political parties and strike at the heart of what our country needs: a rebirth of belief in our leaders and our institutions,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said on Jan. 3. “Our country faces so many challenges, but I am confident that if my colleagues work together with me to adopt these critical reforms, we can restore faith and confidence in our institutions, which is severely lacking right now.”

The congressman sponsored House Joint Resolution (H.J.Res) 6 with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit the number of terms an individual may serve as a member of Congress. If enacted, congressional terms would be limited to 12 years combined in both chambers, or six two-year terms in the U.S. House of Representatives or two six-year terms in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Fitzpatrick also sponsored H.J.Res. 7 with cosponsor Rep. Gallagher that also proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit members of Congress from receiving compensation during a fiscal year unless both houses of Congress agree to a concurrent resolution on the budget for that fiscal year prior to the beginning of that fiscal year, according to the congressional record summary. The proposal goes further than previous iterations of No Budget, No Pay by docking pay for time without a budget as opposed to simply putting member salaries in escrow until the end of the term, according to the lawmaker’s office.

Additionally, Rep. Fitzpatrick sponsored H.J.Res. 8 with cosponsor Rep. Gallagher proposing a constitutional amendment that would provide for balanced budgets for the federal government.

Along with the proposed amendments, Rep. Fitzpatrick also sponsored four new bills:

  • The Clean Congress Act, H.R. 99, cosponsored by Rep. Gallagher, would prohibit a single bill or joint resolution presented by Congress to the president from containing multiple subjects and to require the equal application of laws to members of Congress.
  • The bipartisan Clean Elections Act, H.R. 100, which is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), would require the use of independent nonpartisan commissions to carry out congressional redistricting and would require states to hold open primaries for elections for federal office.
  • The Clean Public Service Act, H.R. 101, which is cosponsored by Rep. Gallagher, would end congressional pensions.
  • The Restoring Faith in Elections Act, H.R. 102, would establish consistent standards and procedures for voter registration and voting in elections for federal office, including uniform standards for absentee voting in federal elections; requiring that mail-in ballots be returned and received by the time polls close on Election Day; and a mandatory signature match, among other provisions.

“This reform package is not political and should not be controversial,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Every legislator in America at the federal, state and local level should be on record as to whether they support these reforms. If not, they should be asked to explain why.”