Advertisement

Wisconsin Republican to leave Congress next month, shrinking narrow GOP House majority

Wisconsin Republican to leave Congress next month, shrinking narrow GOP House majority

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) announced Friday he would resign from Congress before his term is up, shrinking the GOP’s already razor-thin majority in the House.

Gallagher, a four-term lawmaker who is considered a rising star within the GOP, announced last month he would not seek reelection. But Friday, he said he would leave the House on April 19.

“I’ve worked closely with House Republican leadership on this timeline and look forward to seeing Speaker Johnson appoint a new chair to carry out the important mission of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a statement.

Gallagher’s departure will leave House Republicans with 217 members to Democrats’ 213, meaning Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) can afford to lose only one vote on any bill that doesn’t have Democratic support.

His announcement came shortly after the House passed its final fiscal 2024 funding bill after months of dramatic negotiations, and after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed a motion to oust the Speaker.

Gallagher, from his perch helming the House Select Committee on China, was instrumental to passing a bill earlier this month requiring TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance to sell the social media app or see it banned in the U.S.

Earlier this year, he also made headlines for being one of three Republicans to vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.)
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.)

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) addresses reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 following a vote on the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. (Greg Nash)

Gallagher’s is just the latest early departure of the Congress.

Last week, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who had announced his retirement earlier this year, said he would leave Washington before the end of his term. Friday is his last day.

And Gallagher joins several other high-profile committee heads who are calling it quits, reflecting the toxicity many said is evident on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), 54, a 20-year veteran who chairs the powerhouse Energy and Commerce Committee, has announced her intent to leave Congress at the end of this term, along with Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who heads Appropriations, and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chair of the Financial Services panel.

Shortly after announcing his retirement, Gallagher voiced some of those frustrations.

“[S]ince I ran, I always said that Congress shouldn’t be a career,” Gallagher said in an interview on “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News.

“I think that the fact that we have so many lifers and careerists in this institution is why it’s so dysfunctional, and that the framers, when they created the Constitution and this country, had in mind that you would embark on a season of service and then return to private life,” he said.


Top Stories from The Hill


Gallagher’s seat, which the Cook Political Report rates “solid Republican,” could remain vacant through the rest of the year. Wisconsin election law requires a special election to fill a vacancy if it occurs before the first Tuesday in April of an election year.

The vote margins in the House, however, could still change as other vacancies in both parties are filled through special elections.

Updated at 2:54 p.m.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.