Republican’s decision to retire seen as sign of growing frustration in Washington

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) on Thursday became just the latest in a string of long-serving, influential moderate Republicans who’ve announced they are quitting Congress, a sign of growing frustration with gridlock in Washington despite full GOP control of government.

Tiberi had just been named chairman of the newly created Republican Main Street Caucus, a group of business-friendly moderate Republicans; it’s unclear who will succeed him in that role. Another centrist leader, Tuesday Group Chairman Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentLots of love: Charity tennis match features lawmakers teaming up across the aisle Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Dem, GOP groups prepare spending blitz for midterms MORE (R-Pa.), announced earlier that this will be his last term.

“Tiberi’s retirement is bad for Congress and bad for the country,” Dent told The Hill on Thursday. “I certainly understand his reasons. Our retirements speak to a frustration among the governing wing of the party.”

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertOvernight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents Lawmakers aim to use spending bill to block offshore drilling MORE (R-Wash.), both Tuesday Group members, are retiring as well. And Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.), a top Democratic target in 2018, said last month he would not seek a third term.

The Senate is also seeing the retirement of a pragmatic, dealmaking GOP lawmaker: Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains GOP to White House: End summit mystery The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia MORE (R-Tenn.), who’s been engaged in a war or words with President Trump, calling the White House an “adult day care center.”

“Frustration applies to all members,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus who serves with Tiberi on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

“But obviously there is a danger of extremism replacing governing members on both sides,” he said. “I do believe the pendulum will swing back toward the rise of the governing because gridlock places a pox on all sides.”

In a statement, Tiberi said he is leaving a 17-year career in Congress to become president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, a consortium of business executives.

“Leaving Congress is not a decision I take lightly but after a lot of consideration, it is the best one for me, my wife, Denice, and our four wonderful daughters,” he said in a statement.

Tiberi’s new position is a job that will likely pay the 54-year-old congressman more money than his $174,000 per year salary and allow him to spend more time with his family.

The retiring president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, Richard Stoff, earned nearly $700,000 in total compensation in 2015, according to the group’s tax filing.

Stoff said Tiberi has a keen understanding of public policy and a “deep appreciation” for the relationship between the public and private sectors. “Pat Tiberi is as fine an individual as we’ve known,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder.”

Tiberi said he plans to resign no later than Jan. 31, putting additional pressure on Trump and congressional GOP leaders to pass tax reform quickly.

He had been a key member of the inner circle of John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups MORE, a fellow Ohio Republican, before he was ousted as Speaker in 2015. Tiberi is also close to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Interior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (R-Wis.), the former Ways and Means chairman, and is a reliable vote for the party’s tax-reform package given that he’s helping to draft the legislation.

“Pat Tiberi has brought great decency and relentless passion to this House,” Ryan said in a statement.

Tiberi’s departure from Congress is notable for another reason: He becomes the seventh Republican on the Ways and Means Committee to announce retirement or a run for governor. There are 24 Republicans on the panel, which has jurisdiction over tax, trade and health issues.

In 2015, Tiberi ran to be chairman of the Ways and Means panel but lost to Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee GOP looks to blunt Dems’ attacks on rising premiums Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas). As a consolation prize, Tiberi was awarded the gavel of Ways and Means’ health subcommittee, and he also is chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.

The Ways and Means Committee has been in the spotlight this year because of its role in congressional Republicans’ major priorities. Earlier this year, the panel was involved in the efforts to repeal ObamaCare, which ultimately failed in the Senate.

Now, Ways and Means Republicans are working on legislation to overhaul the tax code that may be released within the next several weeks. But there are no guarantees that Hill Republicans will be able to unify and push a tax bill through both the House and Senate.

“I am more concerned about the Senate, although I don’t underestimate the challenge in the House,” said Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation GOP centrists face decision day on Dreamer petition Bipartisan support for medical research is good news for all MORE (R-Okla.). He argued that “probably as much as anything, the failure of repeal and replace [of ObamaCare] in the Senate raises the stakes on tax reform.”

One Ways and Means colleague said Tiberi’s resignation had less to do with congressional gridlock and more to do with personal reasons. Tiberi’s mother, Caterina Tiberi, died last month at age 80 after a short battle with leukemia.

“I have been concerned about Tiberi given the quick passing of his mother. He was very close to her, and he just hasn’t been the same,” the GOP colleague said. “I’m going to miss him terribly.”

Sage Eastman, a former Ways and Means Committee aide who now works at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, called Tiberi is a talented member of the panel whose loss will be felt.

“When you lose a member who is as skilled a legislator as he is, it makes your job harder no matter what the issue is,” Eastman said.

Former Ways and Means Committee member Phil English (R-Pa.), who now serves as a senior government relations adviser at Arent Fox, was optimistic that planned retirement would allow lawmakers on the panel to devote more of their attention to a tax-code rewrite — since they won’t be focused on their reelection campaigns.

“I think it actually helps the process. It frees up the members of the Ways and Means Committee to focus on tax reform,” English said.

He added that the three Ways and Means GOP members running for governor — Reps. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBrady at White House meeting: House to vote on more tax cuts in September GOP lawmaker introduces legislation labelling first-time illegal border crossing as a felony Scalise throws support behind Black, Blackburn ahead of Tennessee primary MORE (Tenn.), Kristi Noem (S.D.) and Jim Renacci (Ohio) — could use their efforts on taxes in Congress to their advantage in their races for higher office.

“All three of them have profiles that permit them to spin the issue,” he said. “They have the skill sets to communicate tax reform to their states in a very positive way.”