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Hern introduces 'Roadmap to Congressional Reform' bill package

Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced a package of Congressional reform legislation to the House today. The bills include a Constitutional amendment imposing term limits for all members of the House and Senate, as well as legislation to ensure Congress works to pass a budget and all appropriations bills on time, ending the revolving door between Congress and lobbying, eliminating earmarks, and more.

“Over the last two years, I’ve learned a lot about what makes Congress work – and not work,” said Rep. Hern. “I’ve gotten a front-row seat to the many practices that make this place a swamp. The package of bills I’m introducing today directly address the problems I’ve found over my first term. Congressional approval has been in the single digits for years – yet no one has taken meaningful steps to put an end to the practices that got us here. Even the appearance of corruption must be rooted out in order for the American people to trust Congress again. While I know I don’t have all the answers, I believe the Roadmap to Congressional Reform is a great first step to provide transparency and accountability.”

The ‘Roadmap to Congressional Reform’ includes the following legislation:

1. Term Limits

This section proposes a constitutional amendment limiting Members of the House of Representatives to three terms and Members of the Senate to two terms.

No Budget, No Pay

This section withholds the salaries of Members of a chamber of Congress that has not agreed to a budget resolution for FY2022 by April 15, 2021, as required by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

3. No Budget, No Recess

This section prohibits a recess or adjournment of Congress for more than eight hours (1) on and after April 15 of each year, if Congress has not adopted a concurrent resolution on the budget for the next fiscal year; and (2) on and after August 1 of each year, if Congress has not passed all the regular appropriations bills for the next fiscal year. No amount may be obligated or expended for official travel by a Member of Congress while the prohibition applies, unless the Member is returning to the seat of government after being away when the prohibition began.

4. Stop the Revolving Door Act

This section amends the federal criminal code to increase to ten years the post-employment lobbying ban on a former member of the U.S. Senate (currently, two years) or a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (currently, one year).

5. Congressional Foreign Lobbying Ban Act

This section enacts a ten-year prohibition on any individual from registering or otherwise serving as the agent of a foreign principal if the individual at any time served as a Member of Congress.

6. Read the Bills Act

This section says a vote on final passage of a measure (except private bills) may not occur in either chamber unless (1) the full text of the measure is published on an official website of each chamber at least seven days before the vote, and (2) public notice of the specific calendar week during which the vote is scheduled to take place is posted on the respective website at least six days before the Monday of such week.

7. Earmark Elimination Act

This section establishes a point of order in the House of Representatives against considering legislation that contains a congressional earmark, limited tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit. If the point of order is raised and sustained, the congressional earmark, limited tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit shall be deemed to be stricken from the legislation.

8. Allowing Members to Opt Out of FERS

This section allows future Members of the House of Representatives to opt out of the Federal Employees Retirement System, an option currently available to Members of the House who began serving before September 30, 2003, and all Senators. In addition, it permits Members of Congress who opt out to continue to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan.