President Trump on Monday called for fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives to abandon the practice of limiting terms of committee leaders to six years, suggesting it was responsible for a spate of retirements from the chamber.
“House Republicans should allow Chairs of Committees to remain for longer than 6 years,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving. 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!”
Last week, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, became the 16th House Republican to announce he would not seek reelection in 2020. By contrast, only four Democrats have announced plans to voluntarily exit the chamber, which their party controls.
Since 1992, House Republican conference rules have restricted members to three consecutive terms in top committee leadership roles.
While the rule allows more opportunities for leadership, it limits the opportunity to build up influence and seniority.
Retirements were also a large issue for Republicans during the 2018 election cycle, when 34 did not seek reelection in a year the party lost control of the chamber.
Trump plans to address House Republicans at their biennial retreat on Thursday in Baltimore.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · John Wagner