Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement

Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement
© Greg Nash

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusShimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement 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.

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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 WaldenHouse panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban Microsoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches 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 UptonShimkus says he's reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement Trump urges GOP to fight for him 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 TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 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 ScaliseLive updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Bottom Line Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm 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 DavisShimkus says he's reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement Hillicon Valley: Senators seek national security review of TikTok | TikTok denies claims of Chinese government influence | CNN chief rips Facebook policy on political ads | Dem questions DHS' handling of personal data 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 BurgessShimkus announces he will stick with plan to retire after reconsidering Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement MORE (Texas) and Bob Latta (Ohio).