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GOP Rep. Shuster won’t seek reelection

GOP Rep. Shuster won’t seek reelection
© Greg Nash

Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterOvernight Finance: GOP eyes vote to fund government through March 23 | How much credit should Trump get for economy? | Dems vow to repeal parts of GOP tax law | Mulvaney shakes up office policing racism in lending GOP chairman: Republicans' reactions 'mixed' on gas tax increase Trump gets chance to sell nation on rebuilding plan MORE (R-Pa.) will not seek reelection this year, becoming the fourth House Republican committee chairman to call it quits.

Like the other three chairmen, Shuster, who leads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was term-limited at the end of this Congress.

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House GOP conference rules limit chairmen to serving three consecutive two-year terms, meaning Shuster would have to relinquish the post he has held since 2013 after the end of this year.

Shuster, 56, represents a safe Republican district, but is now the latest in a growing line of lawmakers opting to pass on running for reelection in what’s expected to be a challenging midterm election year for the party.

Shuster told the Washington Examiner in an interview published on Tuesday that he wants to focus on working with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE to pass an infrastructure bill in his final year in Congress.

“I thought it was the best decision for me to focus 100 percent on my final year as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, working with the president and other Democrats and Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill, which is much needed to rebuild America,” Shuster said.

The other three chairmen to announce their retirements are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteIG poised to reignite war over FBI’s Clinton case McCain, Coons immigration bill sparks Trump backlash What I've learned as a native-born 'dreamer': We are a nation of assimilated immigrants MORE (R-Va.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingMnuchin: Stock markets are 'functioning very well' Cordray blasts consumer bureau's 'pseudo-leaders' over payday loan rule review Banks rack up big wins in Trump’s Washington MORE (R-Texas) and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithOvernight Energy: US projected to be net energy exporter | Water rule lawsuits roll in | GOP chair challenges cancer agency over pesticides GOP chairman questions US funding for international cancer research agency Overnight Tech: Senators want probe of company selling fake Twitter followers | Google parent made over 0B in 2017 | House chair threatens to subpoena DHS over Kaspersky MORE (R-Texas).

Ex-Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzLet’s not fail in our second chance to protect Bears Ears Trey Gowdy announces retirement from Congress House Oversight slams TSA after report says officials 'interfered' in disciplinary case MORE (R-Utah) also stepped down last year to take a position at Fox News, although he could have kept serving as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman through 2020 under the term limit rules.

Shuster told the Washington Examiner that he has been working with the Trump administration for months on an infrastructure plan, noting that he recently met with the president at the White House.

“He’s very excited. He seems to be ready to go, as we are, and so I think we’re going to have a good working relationship as we move forward,” Shuster said.

“This is a president who really understands how to build things, how to finance things, and how to get them done on time and under budget. It’s an exciting time to be the chairman of the committee, so I didn’t want to take my eye off the ball at all.”

Shuster has also been pushing legislation to transfer control of the nation’s air traffic control system to a nonprofit corporation, but it has stalled in the House despite support from Trump.

Shuster first won election to the House in 2001, replacing his father, Bud Shuster, a Republican who also served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee. 

The district in western Pennsylvania has been held by members of the Shuster family since 1973. It’s likely to remain in the GOP column, given that Trump won the district handily in 2016.

Shuster’s 2016 reelection campaign was dogged by ethics questions about his relationship with a top airline lobbyist while leading the Transportation Committee and pushing his air traffic control legislation.

Shuster narrowly defeated a primary challenger, Art Halvorson, who then ran against him in the general election as a Democrat. Halvorson announced on Tuesday that he will run for the seat again this year.

Under Shuster, the Transportation Committee produced a five-year highway bill to fund transit projects, an accomplishment that had eluded lawmakers for years as they repeatedly passed short-term transportation spending patches. Until then-President Obama signed the legislation in 2015, Congress had not passed a highway bill lasting longer than two years since 2005.

Shuster had maintained as recently as November that he planned to stay in Congress despite having to give up the Transportation gavel, telling The Hill at the time that he had ambitions on the House Armed Services Committee.

“My intention is to stick around. I’ve got some other opportunities. I’m pretty senior on the Armed Services Committee,” Shuster said. “[Chairman] Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryMattis to Congress: I'm wasting my time if you don't pass budget Negotiators seek 'breakthrough' under deadline for a Senate vote Ryan: Budget fights have pushed military 'past the breaking point' MORE [R-Texas] has another term, but I’m on the top prong there, and I’ve demonstrated that I can get things done.”

Nearly twice as many House seats currently held by Republicans will be up for grabs in 2018 so far, compared to Democrats. More retirement announcements could emerge in the coming days as lawmakers return to Washington after spending the holidays at home.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Hatch introduces bipartisan bill to clarify cross-border data policies MORE (R-Utah), another powerful committee chairman, announced within the same hour as the Washington Examiner interview published on Tuesday that he would not seek reelection this year either.

House GOP lawmakers have been outpacing their Democratic counterparts in deciding to leave Congress at the end of this year, which Republicans acknowledge doesn’t help their prospects for keeping the majority.

Fifteen Democratic-held seats will be open in 2018, due to eight House Democrats running for other office, six retirements and the resignation of former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill Wynn Resorts stock price plummets after sexual misconduct report CNN: Judges rarely face discipline for sexual harassment complaints MORE Jr. (D-Mich.).

By comparison, Republicans will have to grapple with at least 28 open seats this year.

Two Republicans who resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, Reps. Tim MurphyTim MurphyThe GOP could lose 40 House seats this November Seniors' line dancing, bingo canceled over Pence visit: report Democrat outraises Republican ahead of PA House special election MORE (Pa.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksDems blast RNC over Steve Wynn sexual misconduct claims: 'This is the party of Donald Trump' Lawmakers unveil landmark overhaul of sexual harassment policies This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown MORE (Ariz.), will be replaced in special elections by midyear. Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiIt's time we start using 'The Investing in Opportunity Act' Minnesota Republican named new chairman of Joint Economic Committee Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-Ohio) is also expected to step down by the end of January to take a position at the Ohio Business Roundtable, which is likely to prompt a third special election.

Ten House Republicans are running for other office, while 15 others have said they will retire.

The retirements include three lawmakers — Reps. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus Kihuen BernalFormer Dem congressman jumps into race for Kihuen seat Dems eye GOP rep's seat after sexual harassment allegations Abortion rights leader gears up for 2018 fights MORE (D-Nev.), Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonLawmakers unveil landmark overhaul of sexual harassment policies GOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Week ahead: House GOP looks to revamp Energy Department MORE (R-Texas) and Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill House to vote on sexual harassment overhaul this week This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown MORE (R-Texas) — who announced under pressure over sexual misconduct allegations that they will serve out the rest of their terms but won’t seek reelection.