Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) bid farewell to GOP leadership on Thursday, his last official day as House majority leader.
"This is a privilege of a lifetime," Cantor said during a speech to a packed House chamber.
"For that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your patience," Cantor joked.
The Virginia Republican wished well to his successor, current House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
"I know that your leadership will serve as an inspiration to all of us," Cantor told McCarthy.
After his speech, Cantor and McCarthy hugged in the well of the House chamber, as members gave the outgoing majority leader a long standing ovation.
House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Cantor's frequent sparring partner during weekly floor colloquies, also gave a tribute.
"I want to wish him well. I know that he will not be leaving the public community," Hoyer said.
McCarthy and his replacement as majority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), will assume their new positions at the end of the day Thursday.
Cantor will become a rank-and-file member through the rest of the 113th Congress, after losing his primary in June.