With dozens of retirements, resignations, the face of Congress is changing quickly
When the 119th Congress gavels in on January 3, 2025, both the House and Senate will look very different. 47 members of Congress and counting will not return for another term after the 2024 elections. That includes 39 Representatives and eight Senators who are either retiring, running for another office, or resigning early.
Members have mixed feelings about the new faces that will inevitably enter the chamber.
[Rep Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.]
“I think it’s good to have some new blood in here.”
[Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga.]
“We’re losing a lot of corporate knowledge and I’m worried about that.”
Some who are leaving, like Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., are known to be moderate, likable, and able to work across the aisle.
Others like Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., are highly respected and very smart, so they have been given positions like Chairman of the Financial Services Committee.
Then there are lawmakers like Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who has been in the House of Representatives for more than 25 years, and is taking a lot of institutional knowledge with him when he retires.
Straight Arrow News asked Blumenauer how losing experienced members will impact Congress.
[Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.]
“Well, it will be replenished as new people come on board and get some experience and dive into these issues. It’ll take a while but life goes on. We hope that people will be a little more inclined to work together cooperatively.”
Some of the best, brightest and most liked from both sides of the aisle are leaving, which made another well respected member, Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., think twice about staying.
[Rep. Garret Graves, R-La.]
“I was talking to both McCarthy and McHenry today. And I told him I said, ‘With you all leaving, it’s really tempting to follow you.’ But at the same time, I think that the obligation to make sure that the House goes on the right track, to make sure that this country doesn’t go south is really important. And that’s what’s keeping me here.”
But not everyone will be sad to see long-time members go. There’s a bipartisan group who want to implement term limits.
[Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.]
“Well, I don’t think anyone thinks the Congress is doing well. Having new folks here, maybe it’ll improve things. But I don’t understand the argument for all this experience when we can’t even get budgets passed.”
Khanna is calling for 12-year term limits, other members have called for six year term limits.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., supports a limit, but explained why he doesn’t think it works unless it applies to everyone.
[Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.]
“I never said I was going to term limit myself unless it is for everyone. The alternative is you’re just going to have people in Nebraska with no seniority. But I do think in principle, for across the board it should be the policy for term limits and I would support that.”
The reality is members have been introducing term limit bills for years. But like many elected officials, those bills haven’t gone anywhere.