Mar 20, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mitch McConnell urges GOP against term limits

This is Mitch McConnell

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated to Senate Republicans that imposing term limits on the Senate leader is a bad idea during a Wednesday meeting about the direction of the conference, according to two sources in the room.

Why it matters: As the longest-serving Senate party leader, McConnell's voice will carry weight as a divided conference decides whether to stick with the old guard or look for younger, more MAGA-friendly leaders.

  • McConnell was one of several senators who spoke during an hour-and-a-half conference meeting, which was called by conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).
  • McConnell spoke against imposing term limits for the top GOP position, calling it a bad idea, according to two sources in the room. It's something the has opposed in the past.
  • McConnell said term limits would weaken the leader's power to do their job and potentially hurt fundraising.

The intrigue: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who along with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), is running to replace McConnell as leader, has said he'd support a vote for such term-limits.

  • Neither Cornyn nor Thune spoke during the meeting.

Zoom in: Senators discussed using floor time to openly debate spending bills and protecting the filibuster, senators said.

  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said there was a "unified commitment to always maintain the filibuster — to resisting the calls to the to eliminate the filibuster."
  • Former President Trump called on Republicans to kill the filibuster while in office.
  • Johnson wanted senators to agree on a mission statement.

The big picture: The jockeying for support from various leadership candidates is well underway, though the process largely takes place behind closed doors.

  • It comes as the GOP grapples with a broader divide between its old guard and more conservative Trump allies. The fractures have been on display over Ukraine aide, dealing with the border and other issues.
  • "Obviously, there's a lot more conversation to be had. It's gonna be a long election," Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told reporters.
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