McKeon isn't opposed to the term limits for holding the committee gavel, but doesn't think years as ranking member should count toward the limit.
"There's a big difference between ranking member and chairman. I think that six years as chairman is good. I think you can get something done," McKeon told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview Monday.
McKeon, first elected in 1993, served in Congress both before and after the term limits were put in place.
"When I came to Congress they didn't have anything like that, and some of the chairmen had been chairman for many, many years," said McKeon. "It just focuses too much power on one individual and precludes too many people from having the same opportunity to become a chairman."
Over the years various members of the Democratic Caucus have proposed revisiting term limits but have faced pushback, most notably from the Congressional Black Caucus.
Most CBC members oppose term limits because they feel many black members earn their positions based on the seniority system and believe changing that would unfairly disadvantage them.
Republicans do not have the same level of diversity in their conference -- their only black member, Texas Rep. Will Hurd, is among the dozen not running for reelection in 2020 -- and thus do not have similar factors to consider.
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