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High-Ranking GOP Committee Chair Announces Retirement From House

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) talks with reporters on March 23, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) talks with reporters on March 23, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) talks with reporters on March 23, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state who leads one of the most influential U.S. House committees, announced Thursday that she won’t run for reelection this year.

McMorris Rodgers chairs the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee — which, including McMorris Rodgers, will be losing eight of its 51 members to retirement next year.

The loss of one of the GOP’s most important and seasoned members comes as Republicans struggle to unite under a new GOP House leader with a precarious 219-212 majority.

Before taking up the gavel on Energy and Commerce, McMorris Rodgers, first elected in 2004, served as House Republican Conference chair, a high-ranking GOP position that’s currently held by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

McMorris Rodgers, who represents a safely red district in the Spokane area of Washington, didn’t say why she was leaving office, but signaled that she would be serving her constituents “in new ways.”

“It’s been the honor and privilege of my life to represent the people of Eastern Washington in Congress,” she wrote in a statement. “They inspire me every day. They are part of the strength and soul of America — the greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known. After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided the time has come to serve them in new ways. I will not be running for re-election to the People’s House.”

While retirements are hitting the Energy and Commerce Committee especially hard, upcoming congressional retirements aren’t yet higher than they were in 2022 — though they’ve already surpassed the last presidential election year.

McMorris Rodgers is the 18th Republican to announce her exit from the House at the end of the year, compared with 23 on the Democratic side, per the House Press Gallery.