McConnell pans ‘totally inappropriate’ idea of term limits for Senate GOP leaders

McConnell pans ‘totally inappropriate’ idea of term limits for Senate GOP leaders

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dismissed as “totally inappropriate” an idea being floated by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and other GOP colleagues to place a term limit on his successor.

McConnell, who has served more than 17 years as Senate GOP leader, noted that colleagues have an opportunity every two years before the start of a new Congress to elect a new leader.

And he suggested it would put the Senate at a disadvantage to the House, where the Speaker does not have a term limit.

McConnell also pointed out that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tried to unseat him after the 2022 midterm election and lost in a 37-10 vote.

“Well, we have term limits now. They’re called elections, and I had a contest myself during my last election as leader,” he said, deploying the classic rebuttal to arguments for term limits.

“I think the conference ought to be able to be free to choose whoever. There’s no limit on the Speaker or the other House leaders,” he added. “That won’t be my decision to make, but I think it’s totally inappropriate.”

McConnell surpassed the late Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.) as the longest serving Senate party leader in history in January 2023.

He made his comments shortly after Cornyn, who is running to become the next Senate GOP leader, endorsed the idea of term limits.

“One reason I am running to be the next Republican leader is because I believe the Senate needs more engagement from all of my colleagues, and that includes the opportunity for any member to serve in leadership,” Cornyn, who is 72, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“I will support a conference vote to change the rules and institute term limits for the Republican Leader,” he pledged.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), who is also running to succeed McConnell, hasn’t yet endorsed the idea of term limits. He is nearly 10 years younger than Cornyn.

The other positions within the Senate Republican leadership have six-year term limits.

Cornyn stepped down from his position of Senate Republican whip at the end of 2018 because of a term limit. Thune would have to step down from the No. 2-ranking Senate Republican leadership job at the end of next year.

Senate Republican chairmen and ranking committee members are also limited to six years or three full Congresses in each position.

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