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Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: With now 15 House Democrats announcing their retirement, the Democratic Party faces a difficult path to retain the House majority next year. Republicans need to pick up at least five seats to gain control.

What they're saying: "It is time for me to retire and allow the torch to be passed to someone who shares the values of the district and can continue the work I have labored so hard for the past 18 years," Butterfield said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Butterfield " an esteemed and effective leader in the Congress and the country," adding that he "has made it his mission [to] expand opportunity in America, and he has succeeded."

  • "I join my congressional colleagues in gratitude for Congressman Butterfield’s service and continued leadership through the remainder of his term, and we wish him, his wife, Dr. Sylvia James, and daughters, Valeisha, Lenai and Tunya, the best as they begin their next chapter," Pelosi said.

Between the lines: Butterfield said he is "terribly disappointed" with North Carolina's Republican majority legislature "for gerrymandering our state's congressional districts and putting their party politics over the best interests of North Carolinians."

  • He said he was "hopeful" the courts would overturn "this partisan map."

Go deeper: Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

Go deeper

Congress' chip-funding pause raises alarms

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, a plea by the Commerce Secretary and growing desperation from industry officials, Congress still can't get a key bill that funds the U.S. chip business over the finish line.

Why it matters: With the global chip shortage continuing to crimp the economy, the semiconductor industry has ramped up pressure for funding of U.S.-based manufacturing facilities as one remedy.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.