House Republicans back bills that would have kicked their own leader out of office

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy just began his eighth term.

Just weeks into the 117th Congress, 39 House Republicans have already signed on to proposed constitutional amendments limiting members' terms. But those same lawmakers cast their votes earlier this month for an eight-term Republican, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to be the House speaker.

Both the majority and the minority parties in the House nominate a candidate for speaker at the beginning of each new Congress. The speaker of the House for the 117th Congress is Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Three competing term-limit proposals have been filed so far.

One would cap service in Congress at six two-year House terms and two six-year Senate terms.

Another would limit individuals to four two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in the Senate.

A third would restrict lawmakers to just three two-year terms in the House and two six-year Senate terms.

The last proposal, H.J. Res. 12, was introduced on Jan. 4 and is by far the most popular, with 37 representatives listed as sponsors or co-sponsors. Of those supporters, 10 have themselves already served longer than the cap would allow.

While each of the proposals includes a grandfather clause to exempt current lawmakers, the message is clear: People are staying in Congress for too long, and voters must be restrained from backing experienced incumbents.

Had such a term limit been in place for everyone who ran in the 2020 election, McCarthy, who began representing his California district in 2006, would have been among those unable to run.

While McCarthy has just been sworn in for his eighth term in the House, every House Republicans present on Jan. 3 — including all 39 term-limit backers — voted for him in his unsuccessful bid to be speaker. With a majority of seats, Pelosi was reelected for a fourth term in the position, beating McCarthy by a vote of 216 to 209.

The members backing term limits are:

    1. Rick Allen (R-GA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his fourth term.
    2. Don Bacon (R-NE) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    3. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    4. Dan Bishop (R-NC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    5. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his sixth term.
    6. Ted Budd (R-NC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    7. Kat Cammack (R-FL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    8. Warren Davidson (R-OH) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He served a partial term in 2016 and is in his third full term.
    9. Byron Donalds (R-FL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    10. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his sixth term.
    11. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) is lead sponsor of the six-term House limit proposal.
    12. Russ Fulcher (R-ID) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    13. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    14. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) is a co-sponsor of the six-term House limit proposal.
    15. Bob Good (R-VA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    16. Lance Gooden (R-TX) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    17. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    18. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    19. Kevin Hern (R-OK) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    20. Yvette Herrell (R-NM) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    21. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) is lead sponsor of the four-term House limit proposal and also a co-sponsor of the proposed six-term limit.
    22. Richard Hudson (R-NC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his fifth term.
    23. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    24. John Joyce (R-PA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    25. Fred Keller (R-PA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    26. Darin LaHood (R-IL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    27. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    28. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    29. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He served a partial term in 2012 and is currently in his fifth full term.
    30. Barry Moore (R-AL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    31. Greg Murphy (R-NC) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    32. Ralph Norman (R-SC) is lead sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    33. Scott Perry (R-PA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his fifth term.
    34. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    35. David Schweikert (R-AZ) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. He is currently in his sixth term.
    36. Greg Steube (R-FL) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    37. Ann Wagner (R-MO) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal. She is currently in her fifth term.
    38. Ron Wright (R-TX) is a co-sponsor of the three-term House limit proposal.
    39. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) is a co-sponsor of the both the six-term and three-term House limit proposals. He is currently in his fourth term.

The American Independent Foundation reached out to each of the lawmakers for comment. None immediately responded.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.