Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement

Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement
© Greg Nash

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusRepublicans eye legislation to rival Democrats' sweeping climate plan Overnight Energy: House passes sweeping bill on 'forever chemicals' | Green groups question Pentagon about burning of toxic chemicals | Steyer plan would open US to climate refugees House passes sweeping bill to target spread of toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (R-Ill.) said Tuesday he’s reconsidering retiring from Congress now that the top GOP spot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be vacant. 

“It’s true, I am at least reconsidering," Shimkus told reporters on Tuesday, according to Politico.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement comes a day after the Illinois Republican told The Hill that he’s been asked to reconsider his decision to not run for reelection in 2020. He clarified Tuesday that fellow lawmakers as well as constituents in his district have called on him to stay in the House.

Shimkus told reporters Tuesday that a key factor in his decision to reconsider his retirement is the Monday announcement from Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenConservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 Republicans offer details on environmental proposals after Democrats roll out plan MORE’s (R-Ore.) that he too would not seek reelection next year.

Walden is the top Republican on the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, having beaten out Shimkus for the spot in 2016.

“Who would not say ‘no I don’t want to go’” for it, Shimkus said, likening the chance to take the job on the committee to the opportunity for a minor league baseball player to join the majors. 

Shimkus is the second-most senior member of the committee, behind only Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 The Memo: Impeachment's scars cut deep with Trump, say those who know him Hillary Clinton defends Dingell as 'everything that Trump is not' MORE (R-Mich.), who already served as Energy and Commerce chairman. It’s unclear if he would try to exercise his seniority and serve again after taking a brief break from the post due to the GOP’s six-year term limit.

A reversal from Shimkus would be welcome news for the House GOP, which has been hit with a slate of retirements heading into the 2020 race, a sign of how difficult it could be for the GOP to retake Congress’ lower chamber next year. A total of 20 Republicans, including Shimkus, have announced they are not running for reelection. 

While Shimkus may be reconsidering his retirement decision, some have noted he faces difficulties following his recent remarks stating that he no longer supports the president due to the administration's shift in policy in Syria.

"I think his roommates are asking him. Could be tough since he said he doesn’t support Trump," one GOP lawmaker told The Hill.

"He did make two statements that are hard to walk back.  He won’t support Trump and he doesn’t have the energy to serve."

Shimkus slammed the president this month after President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE decided to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria, saying he was “heartbroken” over the move, which lifted the chief deterrent to a Turkish offensive in the area against U.S.-allied Kurdish groups.

"I'm heartbroken. In fact, I called my chief of staff in DC and said, 'Pull my name off the I support Donald Trump list.' We have just stabbed our allies in the back," Shimkus said during a radio interview with KMOX. "This has just shocked, embarrassed, and angered me." 

Despite the comments, Shimkus could be aided by powerful allies. He’s been roommates and close friends with House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyConservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Trump economic aide says new tax proposal could be unveiled this summer Hoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Texas), the top Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and has maintained several other relationships on Capitol Hill.

“I’d love to have John Shimkus here for as long as possible,” Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisBoth sides of the aisle call for local, state, federal cooperation on homelessness Voting equipment companies throw weight behind enhanced disclosures Voting machine vendors to testify on election security MORE, a fellow Illinois Republican who served as Shimkus’s district projects director and campaign manager before winning a seat in Congress, told The Hill this week. 

Other potential contenders to replace Walden as the top Republican on the powerful energy and Commerce Committee also include Reps. Cathy McMorris Rogers (Wash.) — who has signaled interest in the position — Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers Lawmakers express alarm over rise in cocaine overdose deaths Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE (Texas) and Bob Latta (Ohio).