Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2015

Posts in "Term Limits"

March 16, 2015

Outside the Camera Frame, Granger Makes Her Mark

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is interviewed by Roll Call in her Longworth Building office. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Granger, in her Longworth Building office, jokes some of her fellow Texans are afraid of her. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Kay Granger doesn’t suffer fools.

The Texas Republican has a story about a lawmaker who admitted he hadn’t read a bill he was trying to amend; She told him he had “no business being in Congress.”

Nor does she hesitate to tell any of her more bombastic male colleagues in the Lone Star State delegation when they’re “misbehaving.” Full story

March 6, 2015

Van Hollen’s Exit Changes House Democratic Leadership Landscape

UNITED STATES - JUNE 17: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., participates in the National Press Club Newsmaker Program with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on "future federal budget priorities and methods to achieve them" at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen’s Senate bid will have serious ramifications for House Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:20 a.m. Monday | Ambitious House Democrats looking to position themselves as future caucus leaders thought they’d face stiff competition from Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

But with the Maryland Democrat, Budget Committee ranking member and former two-term Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman now saying he’ll run for Senate, the field has changed. Full story

October 23, 2014

GOP Gavel Fights: 11 House Committee Chairmanships In Play

Hensarling (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hensarling may have a challenger for the Financial Services’ gavel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost every House member is on the stump this month, wrapping up re-election bids, with most cruising to new terms and a handful on both sides of the aisle scrambling to hang on to their jobs. But for a select few GOP lawmakers — those actively seeking committee chairmanships — the final days before Nov. 4 are as much about lining up support among colleagues as they are about connecting with voters.

Every two years, after the Election Day dust settles, members return to Capitol Hill for a lame-duck session that includes the selection of colleagues to serve as senior lawmakers on the chamber’s standing committees during the new Congress.

Republicans, widely expected to retain the majority this cycle, will be particularly busy during the lame duck, scheduled to begin Nov. 12, when it comes to doling out committee leadership appointments. Thanks to retirements, possible assignment shuffles and a 20-year rule capping panel leadership at three terms, as many as 11 out of 21 committees could see new chairmen in the 114th Congress.

A twelfth committee could even be at play, if term-limited Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma decides to challenge Jeb Hensarling’s grip on the Financial Services gavel, as he recently suggested he might.

For the decidedly open chairmanships, some lawmakers are expected to win their desired posting without competition, while others will be facing off against their peers. All of the slots are filled by a secret ballot vote of members on the Republican Steering Committee, comprised of party leaders, top-tier panel chairmen and regional representatives.

Here’s a rundown of 11 committee gavels that are up for grabs, and which members stand to snag them. Full story

October 17, 2014

Before Ending Chairmanship, Issa Sets Ebola Hearing for Oversight

 JULY 23: House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the IRS scandal on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Issa will chair a House hearing on Ebola. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California Republican Darrell Issa has a well-deserved reputation for finding ways to bring the issue of the moment into his committee’s jurisdiction.

President Barack Obama’s handling of the Ebola crisis is no exception.

On Friday afternoon, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman announced he would convene a full panel hearing in seven days, on Oct. 24, titled, “The Ebola Crisis: Coordination of a Multi-Agency Response.” Full story

May 8, 2014

DCCC Chairman Ponders His Future — With No Clear Seat at Leadership Table

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Israel doesn’t want another tour of duty as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Let me think about it,” the New York Democrat told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview, feigning indecision for just an instant before delivering the punch line. “No! No. No. No.”

He exhaled with a long, loud laugh, and then grew serious.

“I very much want to continue being in leadership,” he said. “But three terms is a bad idea for our caucus. You need fresh blood.”

Israel has registered these sentiments with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but conversations have pretty much ended there for the time being. After all, Israel said, he has a majority to try and win back in November before he can stop and think about what might come next for him.

But once the dust settles from Election Day, Israel will be left at a career crossroads. He wants a seat at a leadership table without an empty chair: The “Big Five” slate of caucus chairman, vice chairman, whip, leader and assistant leader is likely to remain static in the 114th Congress.

Pelosi could use her influence to keep Israel relevant through the next few years by securing him a special position, but sources tell CQ Roll Call she could face backlash from members growing uneasy about her pattern of playing favorites.

Ultimately, it might be Israel’s choice: taking on another grueling two years of activity at the DCCC through what might be a better cycle in a presidential election year, or return to being a member of the rank and file.

While he insists he isn’t kept awake at night obsessing over the if-then’s, he must know that his short-term political future is drawing a blank — and that he could become a cautionary tale for what happens to ambitious members of the House Democratic Caucus who suddenly find themselves with little room to grow.

Full story

April 22, 2014

Brain Drain: Self-Imposed Term Limits Shuffle Committees, House GOP Leadership

 

Kline is among the Republicans who might be forced to hand over a gavel given self-imposed term limits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kline is among the Republicans who could be forced to hand over a gavel given self-imposed term limits, though he may receive a waiver. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are facing a brain drain of historic proportions atop their committees — as many as half of their chairmen could be forced to step down next year, thanks to a 20-year-old rule.

The shakeup is due mostly to the GOP’s self-imposed limit, adopted in 1994, on how long a Republican congressman can chair a committee. It’s a policy that is widely popular within the Republican Conference, but is increasingly being questioned by members losing their gavels.

The impending shuffle will do little to change the demographics of the Republican leadership structure — almost all of the white men leading the committees will be replaced by other white men. But critics say the debate is about more than optics. Term limits, they say, effectively sideline some of the party’s most effective legislators.  

“You want the best person in the job and I just think to have an arbitrary term limit cuts into that,” said Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., a former Homeland Security Committee chairman and a longtime opponent of the practice. “Term limits are anti-democratic. You’re telling voters they can’t vote for someone they want to vote for.”

Proponents, however, say the negatives associated with limiting chairmen or ranking members to three terms are outweighed by the positives  of keeping committees vital with fresh ideas and preventing a small group of members from consolidating too much power. Full story

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