On Wednesday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the former speaker of the House, announced his intent to resign from Congress.
McCarthy served as speaker for eight months in 2023 but was viewed as too centrist by members of the conservative wing of the GOP. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) successfully led a movement to oust the speaker in October.
The former speaker shared his announcement in an opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal. An excerpt follows:
Touting accomplishments made during his 17-year tenure as a representative, McCarthy wrote:
We got more Republican women, veterans, and minorities elected to Congress at one time than ever before. I remained cheerfully persistent when elected speaker because I knew what we could accomplish.
Even with slim margins in the House, we passed legislation to secure the border, achieve energy independence, reduce crime, hold government accountable, and establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights. We did exactly what we said we would do.”
No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing. That may seem out of fashion in Washington these days, but delivering results for the American people is still celebrated across the country.
It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work is only getting started. I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.
It often seems that the more Washington does, the worse America gets. I started my career as a small-business owner, and I look forward to helping entrepreneurs and risk-takers reach their full potential. The challenges we face are more likely to be solved by innovation than legislation.
McCarthy also noted GOP advances on matters of security and the economy.
We kept our eyes on America’s long-term global challenges by restoring the Intelligence Committee to its original charter and establishing a bipartisan Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.
We reduced the deficit by more than $2 trillion, revamped work requirements for adults on the sidelines, cut red tape for critical domestic energy projects, and protected the full faith and credit of the U.S. We kept our government operating and our troops paid while wars broke out around the world.
McCarthy challenged government leaders to protect the family, the middle class and the American dream. He wrote:
The most reliable solution to what ails America is before our eyes: everyday men and women who are raising families, showing up for work, volunteering, and pursuing the American Dream with passion and purpose. I agree with President Reagan’s observation that “all great change in America starts at the dinner table.”
McCarthy ended his announcement with a call to Americans to rise above attempts to divide and discourage. The former speaker wrote:
Despite the best attempts by special interest groups and the news media to divide us, I have seen the goodness of the American people. They are what will ultimately uphold the enduring values of our great nation. We all have a role to play in that effort.
I never could have imagined the journey when I first threw my hat into the ring. I go knowing I left it all on the field – as always, with a smile on my face. And looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Only in America.
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