House GOP: Give up gavel if seeking new office

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2014 2:16 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have passed a new party rule that blocks committee chairmen from holding onto that position while seeking some other office.

The rules change means committee chairmen would not be distracted from their legislative duties or party responsibilities while running for the Senate, governor or president. It originated from frustration that several recent chairmen of a powerful Appropriations subcommittee responsible for health and education were shirking their responsibilities while running for the Senate.

The rule was authored by Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican. It means that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance, could not keep his gavel while also seeking a higher office if he's successful in claiming the chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He could seek a waiver, however.