House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) on Wednesday morning announced from the House floor that he would not seek reelection this year.
"We all know that this institution has an abysmally low approval rating, and the American people are asking for change in Congress, and so I'm announcing today that I will leave the Congress at the end of this year," the 16-term member joked.
Dreier was known to be considering leaving office after redistricting in California left him in a majority-Democratic district. Democrats will have a very good chance of picking up Dreier's seat.
The Republican had flirted with leaving office three years ago, but said he decided to continue to serve in the hopes that Republicans would win the majority and advance the goals of a freer economy, limited government, strong defense and personal freedom.
He also said he was glad to see Congress reduce discretionary spending, approve the long-stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and make the legislative process more transparent.
"I'm looking forward to following the Madisonian directive, that members of Congress, after serving here, should go out and live with the laws that have passed," he said. "And I will say that as passionately as we've been pursing a pro-growth, job-creating agenda, I look forward to doing that myself as I move into the private sector next year."
Dreier said he decided to announce his retirement on the floor because he is a "proud institutionalist."
"I believe that this institution is as great as it has ever been," he said. "And I announce it here because … this is where the people of California sent me to represent them."