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Tillis backs McConnell in concerns about term limits for GOP leadership

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) voiced his support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in opposing term limits. Concerns over public health incidents featuring McConnell, 82, helped lead to widespread concern about the age of lawmakers in politics. In response, some Republicans supported instituting term limits for leadership positions. McConnell has reportedly opposed such measures, […]

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) voiced his support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in opposing term limits.

Concerns over public health incidents featuring McConnell, 82, helped lead to widespread concern about the age of lawmakers in politics. In response, some Republicans supported instituting term limits for leadership positions. McConnell has reportedly opposed such measures, arguing that it would weaken the Senate GOP’s position, and now, Tillis has voiced his agreement with the Kentucky senator.

FILE – Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) right, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill Feb. 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

“Mitch has been elected 9 times and 8 of those were unopposed,” he said. “Nothing has prevented any member from mounting a challenge in the past. Having term limits on the leader could make the political side of the job more difficult. I’m in the no-need-for-term-limits camp because we get to pick a leader every two years, and I’m not convinced incumbency by itself provides much of an advantage in a leadership election.”


Tillis then argued that if term limits are imposed on the Senate GOP leader, they should also be considered for committee chairs.

“Some will say that committee chairs already have term limits, but I do not agree,” he said. “Once you become a chair, it’s simply a matter of which committee you are going to chair not whether you will be a chair in the future. Chuck Grassley has been a Chair/Ranking Member of a committee for 6 years longer than Mitch has been leader. I love Chuck and I, for one, hope he continues as chair, but if we want to talk about term limits then they should be real across the board.”

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Senate Republicans are currently embroiled in a race of who to replace McConnell as Senate leader, after nearly two decades in the position. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL), and John Thune (R-SD) have all put their hats in the ring.

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In his letter, Tillis expressed a willingness to discuss and alter his wider proposals with his colleagues.

“This is by no means an exhaustive list. I share it as a starting point for a discussion of the pros and cons of any changes as we make our first transition in conference leadership in 18 years,” Tillis said. “Looking forward, I believe a thorough discussion of these, and other ideas would be a good use of our time.”

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