Do Term Limits for Committee Chairs Weaken Committees?
Yes, say professors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman. They write in the January 4, 2017 Washington Post:
Beginning in the mid-1990s, Republicans limited their chair positions to three terms (six years). For the new Congress, that means new chairs on many subcommittees, as well as new leadership in committees from Appropriations to Energy and Commerce. These term limits were intended to bring fresh new ideas to stale lawmaking institutions. But our forthcoming research shows that term limits have a different impact as well: limiting the effectiveness of committee chairs….
Committee chairs in their first three terms are about four and a half times as effective as the average lawmaker. What is striking, however, is that those in their fourth through sixth terms (before term limits) were much more effective, averaging six times the lawmaking performance of a typical lawmaker. In other words, committee chairs are being replaced just as they hit their stride. Then the new chair must start the learning curve all over again.