Updated Feb 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Powerful committee chair joins growing list of House GOP retirements

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, wearing a blue blouse, black blazer and holding a folder.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Thursday she won't seek reelection in November.

Why it matters: McMorris Rodgers is the third GOP committee chair to announce they are not seeking reelection — part of a historic wave of House retirements this cycle.

Driving the news: "After much prayer and reflection, I've decided the time has come to serve ... in new ways," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement.

  • "I will not be running for re-election to the People's House."
  • McMorris Rodgers, 54, has represented her Spokane, Wash.-based district since 2005 and was previously chair of the House Republican Conference.

By the numbers: McMorris Rodgers marks more than a dozen House Republicans who said they are retiring without immediate plans to seek higher office.

  • That includes nearly a half dozen, including senior members of powerful committees, who have made their announcements in the last two months.
  • Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) have also said they won't run again.

Zoom in: On the Energy and Commerce Committee alone, Republicans are losing a huge swath of members.

  • Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) – the second most senior member – Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), John Curtis (R-Utah), Greg Pence (R-Ind.) and Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) are all retiring.
  • Another member of the panel, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), also resigned last month to become president of Youngstown State University.

The big picture: Both parties are seeing unusually high numbers of retirements after a chaotic year that saw the first multi-ballot speaker election in a century and the first speaker removal.

  • Lawmakers have cited a lack of productivity, a toxic political environment and a general sense of fatigue as factors in the retirements of longtime members.

What's next: Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), the chair of the the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, is running to succeed McMorris Rodgers as E&C chair, his spokesperson told Axios.

Go deeper: Lawmakers are ditching Congress at a record pace

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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