Although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned voter efforts to set congressional term limits, the GOP has set term limits for chairmen and ranking members on Capitol Hill. It’s not the same thing, but it is forcing turnover among members and staff. And most any challenge to Washington’s permanent government is a good thing.
For hundreds of congressional staffers, it’s time to dust off the old resume and pick up that interview suit from the cleaners.
There’s a bloodbath of sorts on Capitol Hill among Senate Republican staffers, stemming from a big turnover in committee leadership. Of 21 Senate committees, 13 have new ranking Republicans. And while the new bosses might keep some members of the old regime, many of them are being shown the door.
According to an estimate compiled for the Loop by Legistorm, those committees with new GOP leaders employ some 236 GOP staffers who could be looking for work.
That’s just part of the rough-and tumble ecosystem on Capitol Hill, where Republican term limits enacted in 1997 have meant more staff turnover in the last decade, sometimes in spikes like this one. Often, the new boss’s agenda may be much different from his predecessor’s, or he simply arrives with a coterie of aides with whom he’s already comfortable.
The Supreme Court’s membership has changed significantly since the unfortunate ruling which helped entrench members in Congress. With congressional approval ratings at subterranean levels, term limits activists might consider mounting another effort with a subsequent court challenge.