Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea

House Republicans are pushing back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos 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 JoyceBoeing suspends Washington production, GE Aviation lays off thousands Mnuchin details IRS challenges with cash-only marijuana businesses Democrat: Lawmakers need to approach opioid crisis as 'a chronic situation' 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.

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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 RyanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Pelosi administration It's not populism that's killing America's democracy 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 BishopWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Overnight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior MORE (Utah) and former Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLive coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Laughter erupts at hearing after Democrat fires back: Trump 'has 5 Pinocchios on a daily basis' Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE (Texas), who are both facing term limits as the top Republicans on their respective panels.

Longtime Rep. Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Bring back equitable access for the Digital Age: Congress must act House votes to impeach Trump 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 ThornberryPentagon gets heat over protecting service members from coronavirus Top Armed Services Republican unveils proposals on military families, acquisition reform House panel delays consideration of annual defense policy bill MORE (Texas) on Armed Services, Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: Mnuchin, Schumer in talks to strike short-term relief deal | Small businesses struggling for loans | Treasury IG sends Dems report on handling of Trump tax returns EXCLUSIVE: Treasury IG sends report to House Dems on handling of Trump tax returns Officials sound alarm over virus relief check scams MORE (Texas) on Ways and Means and Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotPelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing House GOP introduces bill to secure voter registration systems against foreign hacking DCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements MORE (Ohio) on Small Business.

Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump's ability to take military action against Iran House passes .3 billion measure to fight coronavirus 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.

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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 McCarthyHillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting MORE (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOvernight Energy: Trump reportedly opposes royalty cuts for oil, gas companies | House GOP presses Saudis to ease oil production | Exxon Mobil cuts budget amid industry slump House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump House GOP leaders back effort to boost small-business loans 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.