Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentGOP lawmaker: Trump firing Mueller would set off ‘political crisis’ How big of a problem is Ryan’s exit for GOP? Loss of Ryan hits hard for House Republicans MORE (R-Pa.) announced Tuesday he will resign from Congress in May.
Dent, a senior appropriator and former chairman of the House Ethics Committee, had already announced his retirement last fall, but initially said he planned to stick around through the end of his term.
The centrist lawmaker has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration and has long expressed frustration with the growing polarization of Congress.
“After discussions with my family and careful reflection, I have decided to leave Congress in the coming weeks,” Dent said in a statement. “I am especially proud of the work I have done to give voice to the sensible center in our country that is often overlooked or ignored. It is my intention to continue to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years.”
Dent’s early exit is likely to set off a scramble for his gavel on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.
Appropriators, who just wrapped up work on a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, will face another government funding deadline at the end of the fiscal year, in September.
The seven-term lawmaker also co-chairs the moderate Tuesday Group, a band of center-right Republicans in Congress.
Dent’s impending resignation raises questions about the possibility of a special election, with uncertainty magnified by the fact the state is adopting new congressional district lines for the 2018 cycle.
The 15th district that Dent currently represents is a Republican-leaning seat where Trump won by 8 points in 2016. But the new district that Dent is vacating under the 2018 lines is considered Democratic-leaning.
“Congressman Dent consistently worked across the aisle to deliver results for the hardworking families of his district. I respect his decision and wish him the best,” said Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversDems see Mueller firing as a red line on impeachment Stronger patents — better innovation — bigger economy How big of a problem is Ryan’s exit for GOP? MORE (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “We will work tirelessly to keep this seat under Republican control.”
Ben Kamisar contributed.
Updated at 11:25 a.m.