GOP committee chair announces retirement from House

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) announced Thursday she will not run for reelection.

“It’s been the honor and privilege of my life to represent the people of Eastern Washington in Congress. They inspire me every day,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. “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,” she added.

The Washington Republican, who was elected to the House in 2004, is the first female lawmaker to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee.

She currently serves the 5th Congressional District of Washington, which includes Spokane.

“Especially as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve seen the best of Eastern Washington and the United States of America,” her statement continued. “We will spend this year honoring the Committee’s rich history — plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate on solutions to make people’s lives better and ensure America wins the future.”

The Washington lawmaker won the race to become the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2020 after being appointed to the committee in 2010.

She took over leadership of the committee at the start of 2023 when Republicans took over the House majority. She did not face a term limit next year and could have sought to serve as chair, assuming the GOP retained the majority, in the next Congress.

McMorris Rodgers served in House Republican leadership for 10 years as vice chair and chair of the House Republican Conference prior to her committee election.

McMorris Rodgers, 54, said in her announcement that her family has supported her campaign and tenure in Congress “from the start.” Her congressional bio notes she became an advocate for people with disabilities after her son was born with down syndrome in 2007.

In a post online, she said her decision comes have “much prayer and reflection” and said she will serve her constituents “in new ways.”

She joins a growing number of GOP and Democratic members in the House who are not seeking reelection. According to Cook Political Report, her district is a solidly Republican district.

Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) released a statement following her announcement, where he said it was a privilege to work with her, especially over the past three years.

“It’s no secret that getting things done around here is hard work, but Cathy and I have been able to get important legislation passed to lower health care costs, increase transparency in hospital pricing, and move the ball forward on establishing a comprehensive national data privacy standard,” Pallone’s statement said.

He said her departure will be an “incredible loss” for Congress and wished her the best in her next chapter after her term ends in early 2025.

This story was updated at 4:17 p.m.

Tags 2024 elections Cathy McMorris Rodgers Energy and Commerce Committee House GOP Washington state

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video