Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) is leaving the House. He announced his decision to not seek re-election on Saturday.
Gallagher will finish his term but then he will be going to the private sector. “Congress is no place to grow old,” he said.
It was a surprise announcement. This is his eighth year in Congress. He has established himself as a top national security and foreign policy hawk. He was considered an up-and-coming Republican, a leader in the next generation of Republican politicians. He is the youngest committee chairman in recent history. He is 39 years old.
Gallagher chairs the high-profile Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. He pointed to his chairmanship of that committee and of the Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation as examples of his accomplishments. The select committee has released three reports on policy recommendations on U.S. competition with China and he said the panel has an aggressive plan to get more of those recommendations into law during the next ten months.
He downplayed his departure’s impact on the future of Congress’ work on China, noting the select committee was established only for the current Congress. He said he’d have recommendations if a future speaker wanted to continue a similar committee, like empowering it with legislative jurisdiction.
“We’ve already succeeded beyond what was imagined,” he said of the select committee. “Through (the recommendations), through our investigations, we’ve had a massive impact on U.S. foreign policy.”
On his own work, he added: “If I didn’t think I could not only maintain, but also enhance, my influence on U.S. foreign policy and the future of defense policy in particular, I wouldn’t be leaving.”
Gallagher is a former Marine intelligence officer who was deployed twice to Iraq. He treats his time in Congress as a deployment, too.
“Eight years ago, when I first ran for Congress, I promised to treat my time in office as a high-intensity deployment. Through my bipartisan work on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, chairing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, we’ve accomplished more on this deployment than I could have ever imagined,” Gallagher said in a statement.
“But the Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives,” the congressman continued. “Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old. And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election.”
He will remain active in foreign policy work in the private sector, he said, as he thanked his constituents for their support. He will work in the private sector and enjoy more time with his young family.
“Thank you to the good people of Northeast Wisconsin for the honor of a lifetime. Four terms serving you has strengthened my conviction that America is the greatest country in the history of the world. And though my title may change, my mission will always remain the same: deter America’s enemies and defend the Constitution.”
Recently Gallagher got sideways with House Republicans over his vote against the impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas. He was one of three Republicans who voted against it. It was a surprise move and I’ll admit I was as surprised as everyone else. He justified his vote with an odd excuse.
Rep. Gallagher’s statement on the need for Congress to reject setting a dangerous new precedent on impeachment that will be used against future Republican administrations: pic.twitter.com/yi4pVDpAZe
— Rep. Gallagher Press Office (@RepGallagher) February 7, 2024
The impeachment of Mayorkas in the House wouldn’t have set a “dangerous new precedent” at all. Democrats already did that during their impeachment frenzy against former President Trump. They impeached him twice while he was in office. It was insane. Pandora’s Box is already open.
The usual people quickly jumped ugly to call Gallagher a “RINO” though I don’t think most of them know what that means. These days, RINO means anyone who doesn’t vote as another Republican wishes. Gallagher’s cred as a Republican is solid, despite his rather naive vote on impeachment.
My opinion may not be popular about that, but it’s a realistic one. I fear that Republicans will lose control of the House in November. The Republican majority is razor thin and we need all the solid Republican members we can get. Fortunately, Gallagher’s district is a safely Republican one.