House Transportation chief plans to stay in Congress despite term limits on chair

House Transportation chief plans to stay in Congress despite term limits on chair
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House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) says he plans to remain in Congress after he’s done holding the gavel next year, even as a number of his fellow term-limited chairmen head for the exits.

Shuster, who took the helm of the Transportation panel in 2013 and is set to lose that position at the end of this Congress, tells The Hill that it’s his “intention” to stay put, noting that he has seniority on the House Armed Services Committee.

“My intention is to stick around. I’ve got some other opportunities. I’m pretty senior on the Armed Services Committee,” he said. “[Chairman] Mac Thornberry has another term, but I’m on the top prong there, and I’ve demonstrated that I can get things done.”

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House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) each announced this week that they will not seek reelection in 2018, with both lawmakers citing their expiring chairmanship as one reason for their retirement.

Speculation has been growing about whether other chairmen like Shuster who are also approaching the end of their terms will follow suit. GOP rules limit a chairman to three consecutive terms.

Shuster, who has been trying to muscle an airline-backed overhaul of air traffic control through Congress, already has some connections to K Street. He has acknowledged that he has a private relationship with Shelley Rubino, vice president of global government affairs for the trade group Airlines for America.

Shuster also already had his official portrait unveiled at a ceremony last month, earlier than usual, raising some eyebrows about whether he may be retiring early.

But Shuster, a close ally of GOP leadership, had a simple explanation for the timing: He said he just wanted to be more involved in the process.

“I got advice from other chairmen that said, ‘Do it while you’re still the chairman, so you can control he process,’” Shuster told The Hill.