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January 1, Retiring GOP Lawmakers Fume Over House Chaos



As more lawmakers announce their retirements from the House, several Republican incumbents are expressing their dissatisfaction with the GOP-controlled lower chamber as a reason for their exit.

Over 30 House incumbents have already announced they won’t seek reelection, marking one of the highest rates of retirement this early into an election cycle over the last six years. This includes 11 Republicans and 20 Democrats, leaving a total of 31 seats up for grabs so far.

The reasoning behind the lawmakers’ retirements varies, but a handful of seasoned lawmakers have become disillusioned with their work over the last 11 months, growing weary of the politicization that appears to hinder their progress.

“I am frustrated that this place doesn’t address the big issues,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told the Washington Examiner, pointing to examples such as Medicare and Social Security solvency.

Buck also said, “In order to convince the American people to elect us with the kind of majorities we need to pass the solutions, we need to have credibility. And we lack credibility when we lie about the election results and we lie about the events on Jan. 6, when we lie about the Jan. 6 defendants. And I think that it’s important for us to recognize that the ability to govern depends on telling the truth.”

Other GOP lawmakers lamented the difficulty in advancing their legislative priorities.

“It’s hard to get anything done here,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) told Punchbowl News. “I served in the state legislature before here, and I was chairman of the Ways and Means, chairman of Senate Appropriations, and we got big things done. In good times, this place is frustrating and hard to get things done, but now it’s especially hard.”

The last 11 months in the House have been marked by periods of instability and unprecedented votes to remove former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from leadership, leaving the chamber at a standstill for more than three weeks.

Now even McCarthy, one of the party’s most powerful members and prolific fundraisers, is also considering an early exit, which could leave a major hole in the House GOP.

There have also been moments of tension among GOP lawmakers, resulting in terse back-and-forths on the floor and alleged physical altercations.

“It’s no wonder Republicans are running for the retirement exits given the chaos and dysfunction dominating their caucus,” said Viet Shelton, the spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“The public sees it, too, and it’s against this backdrop of a failed Republican majority that voters will be casting their ballots next year.”

However, Republicans have pointed to the retirement playing field as benefiting their chances, noting Democrats must defend far more competitive districts.

Of the 31 open House races, only seven are considered to be competitive seats, all of which are held by Democrats. Meanwhile, nearly all 11 Republican districts are considered reliably red.

GOP strategist John Feehery said, “Typically, if the party out of power is going to take back the House, they need a sense of excitement, and what they need is their members to stay around. The fact that they’re [Democrats] not staying around says to me that I don’t think they’re going to take the House.”

House Republicans have also pointed to intraparty disagreements among Democrats that could play in the GOP’s favor to defend their majority.

Will Reinert, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s national press secretary, said, “A civil war in their caucus over support for Israel, a historically unpopular president, and an inexperienced leader in Hakeem Jeffries begs the question: ‘Why stay?’ Combine that with the climb out of the minority getting steeper by the day — House Democrats are smart to make a mad dash for the exits.”

Congressional job approval has remained quite stagnant over the last decade, with an average 72% disapproval rating among U.S. voters, according to data compiled by RealClearPolitics.

This is similar to the high disapproval ratings from when Democrats controlled the House, indicating the current state of the House may not be a significant factor in the 2024 cycle.

With more Democrats retiring than their GOP counterparts, Republicans say those numbers give them an advantage heading into the next year.

Why It Matters (op-ed)

The high rate of House retirements, particularly among Republicans, reveals the growing dissatisfaction with the chaos plaguing the GOP-controlled lower chamber. Seasoned lawmakers are tired of the politicization hampering progress on critical issues like Medicare and Social Security solvency.

Furthermore, the GOP’s credibility is at stake as some members continue to spread falsehoods about election results and the events of January 6th. This lack of unity and honesty threatens the party’s ability to govern effectively and maintain the trust of the American people.

Despite Democrats having to defend more competitive districts, the current state of the House may not significantly impact the 2024 election cycle. However, Republicans must address the internal discord and focus on solving pressing issues to secure their advantage in the coming year.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.




  1. Bill Porter

    December 9, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    The ‘discord’ in ‘republican party’ section of our government is the direct result of the hijacking of that party by the libertarian element back in the ’90’s. Subsequently, an alliance was surreptitiously formed between them and the ‘country club’ Marxist element of the Dem party and the entrance of Red China into the WTO was engineered. The result–from the year 2000 to 2015, 11 factories, manufacturers, shops and sawmills PER DAY closed every day, 365 days per year for those 15 years, exporting MILLIONS of jobs to that Workers’ Paradise and basically cancelling the American Middle Class. If you don’t understand and appreciate this economic and social earthquake, you are a helpless victim of history.

  2. John

    December 9, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    Lying about Jan 6? He sounds like a Demwit. Did Trump win? I think so but it was never investigated. Here in Wisconsin we have voter ID and they let many votes go through without OID.

  3. Colleen

    December 9, 2023 at 5:38 pm

    We are going to have a bigger problem with social security. Martin O’Mally was put in charge of it. As the former democratic gov. of Maryland, he swindled from the taxpayers every which way. Typical democrat, keep a very close watch on him, preferably from the tall, tall grass.

  4. Patti P Copas

    December 9, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    How about term limits? So that every 2 years a third of the chamber turns over…

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