Mike Gallagher to Quit, Further Imperil GOP House Majority

House Votes On TikTok Legislation

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The sorry state of the Republican House majority got even sorrier on Friday with the resignation announcement of Representative Mike Gallagher. When the Wisconsin moderate steps down on April 19, Republicans will retain a 217-213 advantage with all members present, meaning they can only spare one “no” vote to maintain a majority on any given bill.

Last January, at the beginning of the current House session, the party held a nine-seat edge over the Democrats. But thanks to a variety of reasons — a wave surprise early exits like Gallagher’s, the expulsion of an impossibly messy character from Queens — the caucus keeps dwindling. They have not made up for this numerical precariousness by becoming more cohesive: Also on Friday, Majorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to oust Mike Johnson as Speaker for passing a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown. (Greene said she did not want to “throw the House into chaos,” though it may be a little late for that.)

Such dysfunction is likely a key reason Gallagher decided to step down so soon, rather than wait until after the election. A close ally of fellow early exiter Kevin McCarthy, Gallagher was excoriated by fellow GOP House reps after voting against the impeachment of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last month. Days after, he announced he would not run for reelection. The timing of his resignation looks like a careful middle finger to the rest of the caucus:

With Gallagher heading for the exits and no replacement lined up, Mike Johnson will do his best to keep the most tenuous possible majority in line until the special election to replace McCarthy on May 21, which will likely give him a luxurious two-person cushion. The good news for Johnson: a messy, tiny majority probably does not have the numbers to remove him as Speaker.

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