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GOP House members reportedly considering term limits for committee leaders

Anticipating a red wave in the 2022 midterms, GOP house lawmakers are reportedly weighing the possibility of capping committee leadership at three terms. 

The proposal, first reported by Punchbowl News on Monday, has irked some Democratic leaders who have long held top-level committee leadership positions. 

Republicans have imposed a six-year term on their members for nearly 30 years. Democrats have imposed no such term limits. But the idea of a term limit would apply to both parties. 

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Were such a policy to be implemented, long-serving Democratic leaders would all be affected. Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters of California, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Adam Smith of Washington, and Nydia Velázquez of New York would all lose their top positions on the Financial Services, Homeland Security, Energy and Commerce, Armed Services, and Small Business Committees, respectively.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., presides over a markup of pending bills, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 

Other Democratic lawmakers who are serving third terms on their respective panels wouldn’t be eligible for a fourth, should the idea be implemented. 

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The idea gathered momentum among Republicans after House lawmakers, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., off her committee assignments over violent comments she made about Democrats and later Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., over a violent anime video he posted depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. 

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions, on Capitol Hill on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. 

Earlier this year, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned that some Democrats would be removed from their committee roles if Republicans won in the midterms.

Some moderate Democrats, however, are on board with the idea of imposing term limits on committee leaders. 

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., tweeted Monday that “no matter which party controls Congress in ’23, we should adopt term limits for committee chairs & get serious about developing a new generation of leaders.” 

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