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Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement

Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement
© Greg Nash

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusAsbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Women rise on K Street — slowly Bottom line 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 WaldenEnsuring more Americans have access to 5G technology Race heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight 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 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 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 TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden 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 ScaliseHouse Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 McCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers offer bipartisan bill to encourage retirement savings On 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 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 DavisLawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Democrats seek wave to bolster House majority 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 BurgessRace heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Hillicon 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 MORE (Texas) and Bob Latta (Ohio).