Saturday, April 20, 2013

Not Enough Retirements In The House To Make Room For New Ideas And Energy?


McKeon (left) with his muse (right)

Crooked Santa Clarita Republican Buck McKeon has been running around Capitol Hill and his district like a chicken without a head insisting he's not a lame duck. There were widespread reports last week that he's intent on retiring... or even resigning. Speculation that his shady dealings with China-agent/Vegas mobster Sheldon Adelson, an unending river of ethics scandals, a tough rematch looming with Lee Rogers, and a GOP rule that requires him to step down next session as House Armed Services Committee chairman-- the source of all his ready cash-- are prompting him to leave Congress for a K Street lobbyist job, has been thunderous-- and, for many of his Republican colleagues in Congress-- very welcome news. But McKeon, after confiding to a dozen intimates that he would step down, now says he's going to run for another term. Not everyone believes him.

Wednesday, Roll Call dealt with congressional retirement rumors, featuring a photo of North Carolina Republican Howard Coble, 82, looking pretty corpse-like. They also speculate that North Carolina Democrat Mel Watt, 67, may be ready to pack it in.
Among the other elder statesmen routinely on retirement watch lists, New York Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, 82, raised $35,000 and had a negative amount of cash on hand; Florida Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young, 82, raised $58,000 and had $209,000 on hand; and Texas Republican Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who turns 90 in two weeks, raised just $15,000-- not counting the $20,000 Hall loaned his campaign, leaving him with $16,000 on hand. Hall is the oldest member of the House.

Retirement speculation continues to rumble in California GOP circles about Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, who must relinquish his chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee at the end of this term. McKeon raised $69,000 in the first quarter but still had $508,000 in cash on hand.
There are no provisions for forcing retirements from senile congressmembers and many of hung on long past the dates where they could make any kind of contributions. Strom Thurmond was causing a problem in the Senate not just because he was suffering from extreme dementia but because he was incontinent and stunk up the place for over a year before finally retiring. (He had been forced out of the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee as he approached the century mark.)

Not all the oldest Members of the House are senile, but several of them are. Here are the 25 most elderly current members:
Ralph Hall (R-TX)- 89
John Dingell (D-MI)- 86
John Conyers (D-MI)- 83
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)- 83
Bill Young (R-FL)- 82
Howard Coble (R-NC)- 82
Sam Johnson (R-TX)- 82
Charlie Rangel (D-NY)- 82
Sander Levin (D-MI)- 81
Don Young (R-AK)- 79
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)- 76
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)- 76
Jim McDermott (D-WA)- 76
Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)- 76
Hal Rogers (R-KY)- 75
Lois Capps (D-CA)- 75
Nita Lowey (D-NY)- 75
Buck McKeon (R-CA)- 74
Frank Wolf (R-VA)- 74
Maxine Waters (D-CA)- 74
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- 73
Joe Pitts (R-PA)- 73
Henry Waxman (D-CA)- 73
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)- 73
John Lewis (D-GA)- 73

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