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Top House Republicans flee Capitol Hill amid rising chaos, division: ‘A bad workplace’

Top House Republicans are leaving Capitol Hill at the end of this term, which has been marked by historic levels of chaos and division.

The House Republican Conference is bracing for the loss of several top lawmakers at the end of this year, with both rising stars and veteran legislators getting ready to retire after months of chaos.

Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., announced he would be leaving in December after 10 terms in Congress. And just this month, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.; Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn.; and China select committee Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., all said they’re ending their time in Congress. 

“It just reflects how Congress has just become a bad workplace. And when you talk to members, they’re not happy,” veteran GOP strategist Doug Heye told Fox News Digital.


Heye said he was “not surprised” by McHenry’s exit, noting that he’s at the end of House Republicans’ conference rule imposing three-term limits on top committee spots. However, he called departures like Rodgers’ and Gallagher’s “shockers.”

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“[Rodgers] had time to go still as chair. People typically don’t leave their committee if they have time to go. Gallagher was certainly seen as a real up-and-comer,” he said.

John Feehery, a partner at EFB Advocacy who worked for ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, said some of the top Republicans departing are likely not enthused about the prospect of working under another possible Trump administration, but their replacements in the House would likely think differently.

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“I think the political implications now are that there were a lot of members who probably weren’t all in on MAGA, and their successors are going to be, I think, much more solidly pro-Trump,” Feehery said. “I also think there’s just a general frustration with the inability for Republicans to really kind of score victories.”

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House Republicans have struggled to show a united front for much of the 118th Congress, chiefly due to having a razor-thin majority. The public shows of division, including booting their own speaker from power in October, have sown doubt in the GOP’s ability to hold onto the chamber.

Chairman Green brushed off those concerns and told Fox News Digital even outside of Congress he would keep fighting for GOP wins.

“I won’t speak for others, but I’m ready to continue the fight — in a new capacity. If Republicans are in the minority next year, I’m confident they will continue to do their best to protect the American people from the swamp, but I know from experience that this is difficult to do in the minority. That’s why this upcoming election is so extremely important,” Green said.

Green is leaving Congress after one term leading the Homeland Security Committee, which he called “challenging, rewarding and meaningful.”

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He said he was “hopeful” Republicans keep the majority next year, adding, “Americans aren’t asleep at the wheel. Each day, they feel the strain of inflation and the consequences of big government.”

But if they do, Heye warned that the ranks of GOP committee leadership could look much different.

“I think it’ll be some of both [establishment Republicans and hardliners],” Heye said. “But the majority of Republican members haven’t served in times before Trump, meaning they’re new to this job. They’re still trying to figure out what the job is, and certainly … running the House, they’re new to that. So, that’s a challenge. Then you have some who don’t really want to run committees in the way that committees need to be run. And that presents problems.

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“We’re losing good people who know how to do the job.”

Feehery suggested it’s more likely that those committee spots will be taken by those closest to House GOP leadership at the time.

“My sense is it’s more of the team players who are going to have a better shot of rising up to be chairmen,” he said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the offices of McHenry, Rodgers and Gallagher.

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