Wednesday, February 21, 2024

High-profile Republicans head for the exits amid House GOP dysfunction

 Mark Green isn't the only House member heading toward the door.

CNN, Feb. 19, 2024- House Republicans were shocked by some of the recent high-profile retirements announced by their colleagues, which have included powerful committee chairs and rising stars inside the GOP.

But given the miserable state of affairs inside the House right now, they also weren’t exactly surprised.  “They’ve signed up to do serious things. And we’re not doing serious things,” said Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a conservative who is retiring after bucking his party on several key issues.

Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, a moderate who represents a key swing seat, pointed to his party’s struggle to govern as driving the departures. ... And Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida, ...  I thought that some of our members would be smarter.”

Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington is not even term-limited yet in her plum post, while China select committee Chair Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a 39-year-old who was once seen as the future of the party, recently announced he was leaving Congress after facing intense blowback for voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

And on the Energy and Commerce Committee alone –... eight Republicans who are retiring.

Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana, who is among the members on the panel hanging up his voting card. 

... “It’s unfortunate because you think of the brain trust you are losing. I blame a lot of the ‘crazy eights’ led by Gaetz. They want to make this place dysfunctional to try to wear people out,” McCarthy said, speaking to reporters in the Capitol recently. “It’s very sad … It makes it more difficult for getting people to run in the current climate.”

.... House Republicans wonder: ‘Is it worth it?’

This session of Congress, lawmakers have already experienced a historic 15-ballot race for speaker, the unprecedented ouster of a speaker, a rare expulsion of a member and a number of embarrassing, failed floor votes as Republican leadership has struggled to corral its paper-thin majority – all which has all contributed to members’ fatigue.

Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, even cited the gridlock in his recent retirement announcement, saying: “Our country – and our Congress – is broken beyond most means of repair.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who announced her retirement ... ... Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, who is leaving Congress to run for governor. “It’s gonna be a nail-biter, and we should all be ready for it.”

And some of the Republicans who are retiring are seen as dealmakers who are dedicated to good governance, like Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, which is fueling concern about who might be left in Congress – and who might be taking their place.  (read more)

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