Jan 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Another House Republican plans early exit from Congress

Rep. Bill Johnson. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

On the heels of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's departure from Congress, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) is planning an earlier-than-expected departure this month to become president of Youngstown State University.

Why it matters: Johnson's resignation will leave House Republicans down yet another vote as they try to pass key spending bills with a razor-thin majority.

  • Republicans will be down to just 219 seats to Democrats' 213 once Johnson leaves.

Driving the news: Johnson formally submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday, according to a letter sent out by YSU Board of Trustees chair Michael Peterson.

  • Peterson said Johnson's resignation will take effect on Jan. 21, and that he will begin work at the university the next day.
  • "With his contract indicating he would start prior to March 15, 2024, we are excited to have him on campus earlier than anticipated," Peterson added.

The big picture: Johnson's planned exit comes amid a historic deluge of retirements from House members in both parties.

  • At least two dozen Democrats and more than a dozen Republicans are planning to leave Congress this year.
  • Many lawmakers have cited burnout from the recent chaos and longstanding dysfunction in Congress as key factors.

Zoom in: A relative moderate in the House GOP conference, Johnson is a member of the centrist Republican Governance Group, the pragmatist Main Street Caucus and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

  • Johnson was also a McCarthy supporter, lamenting the former speaker's ouster in October: "Kevin McCarthy should have never been deposed from the speakers' seat," Johnson said at the time.

What's next: Several events in February could further shift the House's seat math.

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