Black Lawmakers Push Back Against Committee Chair Term Limits with House Speakership Hanging in the Balance
House Democrats will meet this week and, once again, presumed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will faceoff with some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). At issue? Term limits for Committee Chairs. Incoming freshmen, some of whom are threatening to vote against Pelosi’s bid for the speakership, want term limits. CBC members do not. Outgoing CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said in a Friday interview that “it’s possible” Pelosi could lose more speakership votes than she’d gain by endorsing the proposal to limit terms for Chairs -- something he calls a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. “I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s awful timing, and I think it’s a hell of a reward for all these chairmen who went out there traveling the country and busting their behinds to get Democrats elected,” Richmond told The Hill. The incoming Majority Whip Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said the topic is too sensitive to have this discussion in the middle of a heated battle over the speakership. “I’m all willing for us to have that discussion and live by the decision that the caucus makes. But we ought not to make these kinds of decisions in the heat of a campaign,” he said to Politico.Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who says he is confident Pelosi will be the next Speaker, suggested the proposal would specifically undercut Black lawmakers who spent years waiting their turn to head committees under seniority rules. Black lawmakers are poised to lead five committees and nearly 30 subcommittees in the next Congress. Pelosi doesn’t currently have the votes to be Speaker and this issue could potentially make or break her chances as well as put new members of Congress against the CBC -- a Caucus some of them are expected to join. More here.