SPONSORED:

Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea

House Republicans are pushing back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE’s suggestion that they extend term limits for committee chairmen and ranking members as a way to stem the tide of retiring veteran lawmakers.

“We have the term limits in place for a reason: to make sure that we continue to turn over the leadership to, I wouldn’t say younger, but fresh ideas among other members, and to keep people interested in staying here” in Congress, Rep. David JoyceDavid Patrick JoyceCandymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety Stand-alone bill to provide relief for airlines blocked on House floor Republicans shrug off Kasich's Democratic convention speech MORE (R-Ohio), a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, told The Hill.

“Otherwise, if members know they have to stay 20 to 30 years before they get a chance to be chairman, why would they do it?” he asked.

ADVERTISEMENT

GOP rules, first enacted in 1995, state that the time a lawmaker serves as either chairman or ranking member counts toward the six-year term limit. In rare cases, the GOP Steering Committee has granted a waiver, like it did in 2012 when it extended then-Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE’s (R-Wis.) tenure as head of the Budget Committee.

So far, 15 House Republicans this election cycle have said they are resigning, retiring or running for another office. The so-called 2020 “casualty list” includes former Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopHillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver MORE (Utah) and former Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayBottom line House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing MORE (Texas), who are both facing term limits as the top Republicans on their respective panels.

Longtime Rep. Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerRepublicans call for Judiciary hearing into unrest in cities run by Democrats Scott Fitzgerald wins Wisconsin GOP primary to replace Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence MORE (R-Wis.), who chaired the Judiciary and Science committees during the late 1990s and 2000s, also said he’s not running for reelection.

And several other past chairmen and ranking members facing term limits in 2020 have been rumored to be eyeing the exits as well, including Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Chamber of Commerce endorses former White House physician Ronny Jackson for Congress Overnight Defense: Senate passes stopgap spending bill hours before shutdown deadline | Brief military mentions in chaotic first Trump, Biden debate | Lawmakers grills Pentagon officials over Germany drawdown MORE (Texas) on Armed Services, Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate MORE (Texas) on Ways and Means and Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Republican fears grow over rising Democratic tide Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats leave town, fail the American people MORE (Ohio) on Small Business.

Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Preventing next pandemic requires new bill's global solutions Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' MORE (R-Mich.), who served as Energy and Commerce chairman from 2011 to 2017, has also been mentioned as potentially departing.

Already, five Texas Republicans announced over the summer that they’re leaving the House. Thornberry added to that anxiety by telling a local TV station this week he didn’t know if he’d run for reelection.

“I’ll have a final decision and announcement on that before too long,” he told KXAN in Austin.

Brady, the affable former Ways and Means Committee chairman who is now ranking member, said he wasn’t aware of Trump’s idea to extend term limits for committee leaders. Asked if he would be following his Lone Star State colleagues out the door this cycle, Brady ignored the question and walked onto the House floor to vote.

It’s unclear why Trump began tweeting Monday about the need to extend the six-year term limit for committee leaders. Some Republicans surmised that a GOP committee leader had been complaining about the term limits during a conversation with Trump about retiring from Congress.

Trump tweeted that the House GOP’s internal rules should allow their chairmen and ranking members to serve more than six years. Democrats have no such limits in place, meaning a chairman or ranking member could lead a committee for as long as they like once they rise to the top spot.

“It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving,” Trump tweeted. “The Dems have unlimited terms. While that has its own problems, it is a better way to go. Fewer people, in the end, will leave!”

When reporters followed up later on Monday, Trump did not seem to fully understand the internal rules. He said committee chairmen frequently retire because they can’t go “back to being a regular congressman or woman,” even though they can. Upton, for example, was term limited as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee but has continued to serve in Congress.

ADVERTISEMENT

The party’s internal rules governing term limits were enacted shortly after the GOP took control of the House in 1995 during the Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE-led Republican revolution that included a huge freshman class eager to overhaul Washington.

“I disagree with the Republican system,” Trump told reporters. Not having term limits is “one of the only things I agree with the Democrats on; I really think it’s better to have a longer term.”

The issue could come up during this week’s House GOP policy retreat in Baltimore, which the president will attend. But the idea of term limits was not mentioned during Tuesday’s weekly GOP conference meeting, lawmakers said.

For now, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire Trump is out of touch with Republican voters on climate change The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins MORE (R-La.) are cool to the idea of extending term limits — or scrapping them all together. Scalise and other Republicans argue that the internal strife in the Democratic caucus, the frustration from younger ambitious lawmakers, can be directly traced to the fact that Democrats don’t have any term limits for their committee chairmen.

“It’s something that our conference put in place years ago and I think it’s a real contrast with the Democrats,” Scalise told reporters. “They can serve 30 years and some of them are chairman almost forever and so it takes away from other members of the committee who think they have a chance to become a chairman.

“Someone who does a great job as chairman, they’ve got their time to make their six years count, and [then] someone else will have an opportunity.”

Bishop, the former Natural Resources Committee chairman who is now the ranking member, said term limits were the “primary reason” he decided to retire this cycle.

“I made this decision in 2012 … I’d have six years to lead a committee, then it would be the right thing to go. So yeah, if it was longer, I would have probably stayed longer,” Bishop said in a brief interview just off the House floor.

But the Utah Republican added that he remains torn about whether it would be beneficial to the GOP to extend or do away with term limits.

“I really don’t know if it’s the right thing to do; there is a value in turnover,” Bishop said. “If you sit back and think about it, six years is a decent amount of time. It just goes by so quickly.”

And sometimes you lose and find yourself in the minority, a reporter said.

“Then it sucks,” Bishop replied without missing a beat.