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GOP leaders flee Washington: First chairmen, now Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan leaving a news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan is the latest GOP leader to announce he'll exit Congress.

Why it matters: The Republican party already saw a record number of retirements from chairmen this year, and will now need to work quickly to find a new leader. Meanwhile, there will be at least 58 vacated House seats up for grabs by the time the November 6 midterm elections roll around, and 39 of those are Republican seats.

Notable names out:

  • Orrin Hatch (UT), Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, assumed position in 2015, member of Congress since 1977.
  • Gregg Harper (MS), Chairman of House Administration Committee, assumed position in 2017, member since 2009.
  • Diane Black (TN), Chairwoman of Budget Committee, assumed position in 2017, member since 2011.
  • Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Chairman of Appropriations Committee, assumed position in 2017, member since 1995.
  • Bob Goodlatte (VA), Chairman ofJudiciary Committee, assumed position in 2013, member since 1993.
  • Trey Gowdy (SC), Chairman of Oversight Committee, assumed position in 2017, member since 2011.
  • Jeb Hensarling (TX), Chairman of Financial Services Committee, assumed position in 2013, member since 2003.
  • Ed Royce (CA), Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, assumed position in 2013, member since 1993.
  • Bill Shuster (PA), Chairman of Transportation Committee, assumed position in 2013, member since 2001.
  • Lamar Smith (TX), Chairman of Science, Space, and Technology Committee, assumed position in 2013, member since 1987.

A majority of retiring committee leaders have been the result of term-limits, as Republican rules limit House chairmen to six years. However, it's difficult to say whether these members would have run again had they had the option to keep their leadership posts.

Between the lines: As Axios' Mike Allen has previously reported, losing the House could have big implications for the White House. "If Dems take the House and there's a Speaker Pelosi, President Trump faces endless subpoenas and perhaps impeachment proceedings," he wrote.

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