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Rep. Patrick McHenry, former temporary House speaker, to retire from Congress

Analysis on the fallout after McCarthy ousted
Analysis on fallout after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ousted 03:43
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File: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) speaks to reporters upon arrival to a House Republican Conference meeting on November 14, 2023 in Washington, DC.  Anna Rose Layden / Getty Images

Rep. Patrick McHenry, onetime temporary House speaker, will not seek reelection to Congress next year, he announced in a statement Tuesday.

"I will be retiring from Congress at the end of my current term," McHenry said. "This is not a decision I come to lightly, but I believe there is a season for everything and—for me—this season has come to an end."

When Rep. Kevin McCarthy became the first House speaker in history to be removed in a no-confidence vote in early October, McHenry became the speaker pro tempore, and he remained in the job until Rep. Mike Johnson was elected speaker on Oct. 25, after a weeks-long stalemate.

McHenry, 48, has represented North Carolina's 10th congressional district since 2005. 

McHenry insisted concerns about congressional departures are "greatly exaggerated."

"There has been a great deal of handwringing and ink spilled about the future of this institution because some—like me—have decided to leave," McHenry said. "Those concerns are exaggerated. I've seen a lot of change over twenty years. I truly feel this institution is on the verge of the next great turn. Whether it's 1974, 1994, or 2010, we've seen the House evolve over time. Evolutions are often lumpy and disjointed, but at each stage, new leaders emerge. There are many smart and capable members who remain, and others are on their way. I'm confident the House is in good hands. I look forward to what the next season brings for my family and me."

Rep. Kevin McCarthy shakes hands with Rep. Patrick McHenry after McHenry nominated him in the 14 round of voting for speaker on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy shakes hands with Rep. Patrick McHenry after McHenry nominated him in the 14 round of voting for speaker on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

McHenry's district encompasses an area west and north of Charlotte and is viewed as a safe Republican seat. He and his wife have two daughters. Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, McHenry attended North Carolina State University and Belmont Abbey College. He was the national coalition director for George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000. In 2002, he won a seat in North Carolina's General Assembly. 

What has McHenry accomplished in Congress?

McHenry is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and before that, he served as the House GOP's chief deputy whip. McHenry's office touts his role in the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump and former House Speaker Paul Ryan-era law that significantly lowered corporate tax rates. 

McHenry was a lead Republican negotiator on debt ceiling negotiations this spring, and played a significant role in brokering a deal with Democrats to avoid default.

McHenry also authored a law, signed by former President Barack Obama, to help entrepreneurs by providing the opportunity for startup employees to sell their stock options to private investors. The North Carolina Republican works on combining finance and technology to expand access to capital for small businesses. 

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