GOP House Majority In Grave Danger After Unexpected Exit

GOP House Majority In Grave Danger After Unexpected Exit

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) has announced that he will be stepping down from his role in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks, ahead of his previously announced retirement.

This decision further narrows the already tight Republican majority in the House, following early retirements and the expulsion of Representative George Santos (R-NY).

Gallagher released a statement on Friday, declaring his resignation effective April 19, 2024, from his position representing Wisconsin’s Eighth Congressional District. He mentioned that this decision was made after discussions with his family and coordination with House Republican leadership.

Gallagher, who is the current chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, expressed his anticipation for Speaker Johnson to appoint a new chair for the committee and confirmed his office would remain operational for constituent services until the end of his term.

The resignation came in the wake of Gallagher facing severe backlash for his vote against the removal of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) later endorsed the motion, having returned from medical leave to cast his vote.

Gallagher's exit will result in a House composition of 217 Republicans to 213 Democrats. This tight balance means that the Republicans can only afford a single defection or absence to pass legislation with a party-line vote.

This move comes amidst the controversial removal of Representative George Santos (R-NY) over corruption allegations, a campaign led by his own party members in New York. Though not convicted, Santos's expulsion had already reduced the Republican margin.

The vacancy left by Gallagher adds to the series of early retirements and departures among Republicans, including Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Earlier, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) announced he would leave early for a position at Youngstown State University.

These departures mean the House must navigate a slender majority until special elections can be held to fill these seats.

Despite the districts being predominantly Republican, the upcoming elections for Johnson, McCarthy, and eventually Gallagher’s seats (scheduled for June, May, and November respectively) are critical for maintaining the party’s legislative capability. Meanwhile, Buck’s seat is expected to be filled before the end of the term.

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