Extend committee chairmanship to stop retirements
WASHINGTON – Responding to a wave of retirements by GOP members of Congress, President Donald Trump called Monday for the House to change its rules to let senior lawmakers keep their committee chairmanships beyond the current six-year term limit.
Trump, who made “drain the swamp” a mantra of his 2016 campaign, said that the self-imposed limit “forces great people” to leave too early.
More than a dozen Republican lawmakers have announced retirements this year, opening up new races and complicating GOP efforts to take back the House in the 2020 presidential election. They include Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the second-longest serving member of the House, and Rep. Bill Flores of Texas.
Trump tweeted Monday that the answer is to do away with the party’s six-year, self-imposed limit on how long members can serve as chairs. The six-year limit was created in 1994 to ensure fresh leadership atop the most powerful committees on Capitol Hill.
“House Republicans should allow Chairs of Committees to remain for longer than 6 years. It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving,” the president 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!”
Trump has previously indicated support for electoral term limits. He tweeted in 2018 that he had met with a group of lawmakers who “feel very strongly in favor” of terms limits and said “I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts.”
The president has also frequently joked about extending his own term, a notion he says he brings up to tweak his critics and the media. In 2018, Trump reportedly told a group of donors at Mar-a-Lago that Chinese President Xi Jinping remains “president for life” and joked that “maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”
Trump shared a tweet by Jerry Falwell Jr. in May in which the president of Liberty University said that because Trump had to endure the Russia probe for the first two years of his presidency that he should “have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”