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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives leave the U.S. Capitol

Dissecting the wave of House retirements

Thirty members of the House have announced that they’re not running again in 2024, including a spate just this week. This creates a host of dynamics we wanted to dive into this morning before you settle in for the Thanksgiving holiday.

No. 1: Our friend Steven Shepard of Politico notes that the 12 congressional retirements announced this month make it the second-most of any month since 2011. And November isn’t over yet. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is the time lawmakers announce they’re leaving Congress. We don’t know why this has occurred. Maybe it’s the joy of being home and away from the Capitol for a few weeks that’s convinced members and senators to make it permanent.

Also, we could see some more departures very soon. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) seems certain to be expelled — or to quit — when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving holiday. And Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) was just hired as the president of Youngstown State University. The seven-term lawmaker said he’ll “continue serving in the House for several more months,” but didn’t give an exit date.

Remember, there are several key states with filing deadlines coming up in the next few weeks. California’s deadline is Dec. 8 and Texas’ is Dec. 11. Those are the two biggest states in the country, with a whopping total of 90 representatives in their combined delegations.

No. 2: We cataloged all of the current House retirements. Here’s a look, and we’ll talk about them on the other side. This image is clickable, by the way.

As you can see here, we have retirements ranging from No. 14 in seniority — Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who announced her departure Tuesday — to No. 422. The average seniority of those retiring is 180. Ten lawmakers in the 100s ranks are leaving, meaning Congress is losing some very experienced pols. And eight lawmakers who are in the top 100 of seniority are leaving as well.

No. 3: With every departure comes opportunity. Sixteen seats are opening on House “A committees” — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services and Appropriations.

The biggest opportunity is on E&C, which is seeing seven departures. Appropriations, which is far less desirable now than it was 15 years ago, is seeing five members leave, while three more are giving up Ways and Means spots. And Financial Services and Rules each have one retirement.

Of course, the number of openings on these panels depends on which party controls the House next year, and what the ratios are.

But it’s clear the departure of so many veteran members will create openings for junior colleagues to grab these plum committee assignments, whatever the final numbers are.

— Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

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