Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher will resign early, leaving House majority hanging by a thread

House Republicans lost another member in Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., on Friday. Gallagher's departure April 19 will leave Republicans with just one vote to spare on legislation.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file
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WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who announced last month he would not run for re-election, will resign from Congress early, he confirmed in a statement Friday.

Gallagher’s departure before the end of his term in January is another blow to Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Republicans, who have been struggling to govern and demonstrate stability in this Congress.

Two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News of Gallagher's plan to resign early Friday. The Wisconsin Republican then released a statement announcing that he will depart April 19.

Gallagher informed Johnson of his decision earlier this week. Johnson, in a post on X, praised Gallagher's "extraordinary work in the House" and for "courageously exposing the threat Beijing poses to the U.S."

His resignation could cause more headaches for House Republicans. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who also is not seeking re-election, is resigning from Congress on Friday, cutting the GOP’s minuscule majority to 218-213. When Gallagher leaves, the majority would further shrink to 217-213, meaning Republicans could only afford a single defection on any vote if Democrats vote together.

Gallagher’s decision to leave April 19 also means that there will not be a special election to fill his seat. Under Wisconsin state law, vacancies after the second Tuesday in April are filled in the general election, so Gallagher’s replacement will be decided in November and his seat will remain empty until January.

A source close to Gallagher said the decision to leave was in the works and not related to anything happening in House lately. Gallagher has a young family that he and his wife hope to grow and the House schedule is not conducive to that, the source said.

Gallagher, 40, an Iraq War veteran, is the chairman of the select committee investigating the Chinese Communist Party, and serves on the Intelligence Committee. It’s highly unusual for a committee chairman to resign in the middle of the term.

But Gallagher, an institutionalist first elected to Congress in 2016, has grown frustrated with his own party. He was one of three Republicans who voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last month.

He is one of several top Republican chairmen who are not running for re-election in November following a tumultuous House session.

Earlier Friday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., filed a motion to oust Johnson from the speakership over his handling of funding the government, though no vote is scheduled yet. It follows a similar motion, made by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., that successfully toppled then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., last fall.

Meanwhile, shortly after the House passed its final government funding package for fiscal year 2024 on Friday, retiring Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said she would step down as chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, setting off an early battle among Republicans to succeed her in the powerful post. Unlike Gallagher and Buck, Granger said she will serve out her House term, which ends in January.

In his statement, Gallagher said he worked closely with GOP leaders on the timing of his announcement — shortly after the House voted to avert a shutdown — and looks forward to Johnson naming a new China committee chairman.

"I will forever be proud of the work I did on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, chairing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party," Gallagher said. "It has truly been an honor to serve in the House of Representatives."