GOP Rep. Shuster won’t seek reelection

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

Rep. Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterEx-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' Republicans spend more than million at Trump properties 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 TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty 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 GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingHas Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? Maxine Waters is the Wall Street sheriff the people deserve Ex-GOP congressman heads to investment bank MORE (R-Texas) and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithDemocratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' MORE (R-Texas).

Ex-Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges 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 ThornberryRepublicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks 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 HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators 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 ConyersEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' McConnell: Reparations aren't 'a good idea' This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive 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 MurphyA federal abortion law might be needed Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Pennsylvania New Members 2019 MORE (Pa.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (Ariz.), will be replaced in special elections by midyear. Rep. Pat TiberiPatrick (Pat) Joseph TiberiOhio New Members 2019 Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress GOP Rep. Balderson holds onto seat in Ohio 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 KihuenMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Nevada Dem sanctioned for sexual misconduct announces city council bid Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 MORE (D-Nev.), Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonGOP trading fancy offices, nice views for life in minority Privacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R-Texas) and Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Lawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid 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.