The GOP has witnessed the departure of another prominent member as US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Congress member for two decades and the House Energy and Commerce Committee chairwoman, announced her decision not to seek reelection.
McMorris Rodgers has served Washington’s 5th Congressional District since 2005. Her influential committee oversees a wide range of responsibilities. The Daily Caller reports that her departure opens the door for another Republican to take on the prestigious committee leadership role.
In a detailed statement shared on X, McMorris Rodgers expressed gratitude to her supporters and collaborators while not providing a specific reason for her departure. She stated that after much reflection, she decided to serve the people in new ways.
Previously, McMorris Rodgers held a significant role in the House Republican leadership as the Conference Chair for six years, from 2013 to 2019. During this time, the Republican Party secured three consecutive House majorities. She also delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2014.
McMorris Rodgers’ tenure as the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee could have been extended for four more years, following the Republican Conference’s rule limiting committee leaders to six years of service. Her unexpected decision to retire has surprised many, considering the value placed on committee chairmanships and the usual practice of members completing their terms in such positions.
One congressional journalist commented on X that it was truly wild to see her leave the position so soon, as she had only just begun her four-year term.
McMorris Rodgers is among 19 House Republicans, including several senior figures, who have decided not to run for reelection. This group includes Patrick McHenry, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and former acting speaker pro tempore, and Kay Granger, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The House Republican Conference has faced various controversies, notably since the ousting of Kevin McCarthy as speaker on October 3, following a motion by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida.