Democrat leaders’ power threatened by House GOP committee term limit proposal

A number of powerful House Democrats including Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) would not be eligible to serve as ranking members on committees under a new term limit proposal being considered by the GOP if they regain the majority in the chamber next year.

House Republicans already have six-year committee term limits within their own party but are considering expanding the rule to the entire House if they can regain power.

The new rule would be unprecedented in the chamber, which has typically allowed each party to set rules about committees and assignments, including leadership and term limits.

“This potential move by Republicans would have a seismic impact on the House and would be a huge breach of tradition. For decades, the two parties have set their own internal rules to decide who sits on committees and for how long,” Punchbowl News said of the rule.

Democrats affected

Some of the Democrats that would be affected by the new rule include the following:

  • House Financial Services Committee chair since 2013, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  • Top Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee since 2005, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
  • House Judiciary Committee chair for three terms, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
  • Leading Democrat on the Armed Services Committee since 2011, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
  • Top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee since 2015, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
  •  Leading Democrat on the Small Business Committee since 1998, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
  • Chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee for three terms, Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA)

A few Democrats have joined the GOP in supporting term limits for committees, seeing the move as a way for new, younger leadership to come to power.

“Putting term limits on committee leadership ensures we’re putting the best players in these powerful positions every single term,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said. “Republicans have been doing this for years, but Democrats have been content to hand these roles to whichever members have been in Washington the longest.”

Overstepping bounds?

Some in the GOP like Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have argued that Democrats were the first to meddle in Republicans’ affairs when they disciplined two GOP members by removing them from committee assignments, so it is only fair for the GOP to have more latitude with rule-making.

Democrats removed Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (D-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from their committees after GOP leadership refused to discipline them for what Democrats called “violence,” but was nothing more than words, some of which were meant to be a joke.

But not all Republicans agree with the move, since it could lead to more effective Democrat leadership. Why should the GOP help Democrats?

On the other hand, seeing Maxine Waters and Jerry Nadler–both of whom should have retired years ago–stripped of their outsized power might be delicious enough to risk letting “better” Democrats get more power.

Share on facebook
Share To Facebook

Welcome to our comments section. We want to hear from you!

Any comments with profanity, advocacy of violence, harassment, personally identifiable information or other violations will be removed. If you feel your comment has been removed in error please contact us!

Latest Posts