WASHINGTON — Thanks to his new perch atop an influential group of U.S. House Republicans, Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan wields more power this term than most third-term members — but he says is not sticking around forever.
Flores is the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of Republicans House members who aim to move policy to the right. As the committee's chairman, Flores could leverage the the role into a future seat at the leadership table.
Not so fast, he said in a recent interview with The Texas Tribune.
"I didn’t run to become part of the leadership of the House. I ran to try and advance conservative principles," he said. "In terms of committee chairmanship positions, I haven’t been here long enough to do that. I will term-limit myself probably before I would have enough seniority to get a committee chairmanship."
Flores further discussed his timing on a self-term limit, his vision for the Republican Study Committee and his favorite Democrat.
The following is an edited and condensed transcript of the interview.
TT: Do you have a sense of when you would follow through on a term limit?
Flores: That’s between my wife and me at this point. We discussed what it would be after a prayerful decision about whether to run or not, back in 2009.
TT: Is this based on a personal belief in term limits?
Flores: I believe in term limits. I believe the country would be hugely better off if we had more turnover in Congress. Now, that said, we’ve had a huge amount of turnover in the last three cycles. But the other thing is, in this case it was a family decision. One, I think the principles of term limits is correct, but this is a family decision.
Now, I didn’t say when. Don’t try to imply. I’m not in my last term for sure, let’s put it that way. Unless the voters decide it’s my last term.
TT: Do you have a favorite Democrat to work with?
Flores: Henry Cuellar. Cuellar’s a good friend. Gene Green and I are aligned from time to time. Not all the time. When we’re aligned, we’re pretty good friends. When we’re not, it’s a little more challenging.
TT: What is the Republican Study Committee?
Flores: The Republican Study Committee was started and has grown to be sure that we create and promote, advance and execute conservative policies for the betterment of hard-working American families.
It’s going to be the largest, most effective most conservative caucus in Congress. We’ll be able to have an immense influence in terms of getting conservative fingerprints on policy as we move forward.
TT: But has the RSC gotten so big that it has lost potency ?
Flores: As you get larger, it is harder to have focused discussions. Because one of the things I’ve learned about Congress over the past four years that I’ve been in is, there’s no shortage of opinions about how things should be done on any particular subject. And so when you have 160 to 180 members, it’s very difficult to hone in on one set of solutions.
On the other hand, that is overshadowed by the fact that we bring the votes. As we create conservative policy and take it to our leadership, they can have the confidence that if they bring it to the floor, they’re going to have most of the votes they need from this caucus to get to the 218 [votes] they need to advance it and move forward.
And so, there are pros and cons when it comes to size. But overall I’d say, I think the pros outweigh the cons with respect to size.