That sentiment hasn’t stopped Barton. The Texas Republican has been particularly aggressive in his push for a rule change and is expected to press his case later this week during Republican organizational meetings.
Barton said he has been taking a dual track in his conversations with members of the Steering Committee and Republican leadership, asking them to consider a rule change while plugging his candidacy to remain atop the energy panel. He also sent a “Dear Colleague” letter Tuesday calling the Conference rule “ambiguous” and floated five options for changing it.
“Now is the time, before Republicans once again assume the majority, to strengthen and clarify the term limit rule for Chairmen,” Barton wrote. “The rule should be simple to understand, fair to all, be void of ambiguous language, and maintain the intent of the original rule.”
Barton is continuing his push for changing the rule in the press, within the Texas delegation and among his committee members.
“I’m a member of the Steering Committee, I’ve been on the Republican Steering Committee for 15 [to] 20 years,” Barton said. “It’s a very touchy-feely process and you have to work and visit with people and listen to people.”
Barton said he is confident of his ability to secure a waiver if the rules aren’t changed.
“I think I have a very good chance of getting the rule clarified and if that happens I think I have a very good chance to be nominated,” Barton said.
It’s not just Members who are facing being term-limited out of a gavel in the near future who are concerned about the rule.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who is vying to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee if Barton is not extended a waiver, wants leadership to make changes to the waiver rules.
“I think it’s very vague and really not clearly specified, and, you know, we missed the boat the last two reorganizations by not addressing it,” Shimkus said. “There is no way a ranking-member position equals a chairmanship position. People can’t convince me of that.”
Shimkus said the Conference would suffer if people such as presumptive Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) had their tenure cut short because they had served as ranking member.
“It’s sad,” Shimkus said. “It has really put us in a position of where people are scrambling around.”