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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election in 2020.

Why it matters: Meadows is one of the visible House Republicans and one of President Trump's most loyal defenders on Capitol Hill. He becomes the 24th House Republican to announce his retirement in 2020, further complicating the GOP's path to regaining the chamber's majority next year.

Behind the scenes: Meadows contemplated leaving office for months, but he finalized his decision this week.

  • A source familiar with his decision said the timing of the announcement — the day after the House impeached Trump — was unfortunate but unavoidable, given the filing deadline for his seat is on Friday.
  • "He wanted to announce it post-impeachment to minimize any appearance of it having to do with the vote," the source said.

The backdrop: Meadows was first elected to Congress in 2013. In 2015, he helped found the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and chaired the group from 2016 to 2019.

  • He is currently a lead Republican on the House Oversight and Transportation committees.

What's next: Meadows has no immediate plans to jump into a new role. However, he is open to joining the Trump administration and says he will remain committed to supporting the president.

Full statement from Meadows:

For everything there is a season. After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term. 
This was a decision I struggled with greatly. These last 8 years, I have been so blessed to serve the people of NC-11 and help give a voice to millions of Americans who feel Washington, DC has forgotten them. Since serving alongside President Trump, I have been a witness to historic economic prosperity, unemployment levels I only dreamed of when I took office, tax and regulatory reforms that are putting the American worker first, our Israeli embassy moved to Jerusalem, and trade deals that were once thought impossible. I have seen our law enforcement and first responders receive the support they deserve and our military once again put on a path to maintain its superiority. Through it all, I am so thankful to have been able to serve and give back to the great country I call home.  
My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning. This President has accomplished incredible results for the country in just 3 years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come. I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, DC to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun. 
To the people of Western North Carolina: it’s been my honor to be your Congressman. Thank you for your trust, faith, and support. God bless you. 

Go deeper: The members of Congress departing in 2020

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Glenn Youngkin in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Friday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Standing on a flatbed hitched to a John Deere tractor in red Rockingham County, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin decried California liberalism and bashed his rival, Terry McAuliffe. He also encouraged early voting. Two words he avoided: Donald Trump.

Driving the news: Youngkin, the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee, is mounting a serious challenge to McAuliffe — a former governor and veteran of Democratic politics. Axios caught up with him on Friday in Harrisonburg, Virginia.