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No Change to GOP Term Limits Expected

The House Republican transition team on Wednesday afternoon will recommend the current term limits for chairmen stay in place.

Internal House GOP rules limit lawmakers to three consecutive terms, or six years, as the top Republican on a panel. Those term limits were established in the 1994 “Contract With America,” which helped sweep Republicans to power.

Although the recommendations are not binding, they are the latest roadblock for two Members who have reached the end of their terms and have asked the Republican Steering Committee to allow them to continue to serve as chairman of their respective panels in the 112th Congress.

Both Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Jerry Lewis (Calif.), ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, must obtain waivers from the Steering Committee to allow them to bypass the rule. 

Barton has argued the terms a member serves as ranking member should not be counted in the same way as terms serving as chairman, since ranking members have significantly less influence.

The transition team’s recommendation will be delivered to House Republicans in a package of rule proposals. Members will have a week to review the new internal House Republican rules, according to a transition aide. 

The full Conference will vote on the rules package next week, the aide said — the same day the Republican Steering Committee is scheduled to select chairmen.