A retiring Democratic congressman laments the 'absolute chaos' of the current session that he says contributed to his decision to forgo reelection

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  • Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan recently announced that he would forgo a reelection bid in 2024.

  • The congressman, from a key swing district, said the "chaos" of the House weighed on him.

  • While battling health issues, Kildee told The New York Times he thought about the sacrifice of being away from family.

When Rep. Dan Kildee earlier this month announced that he wouldn't seek reelection to his Michigan swing district, many speculated as to why the six-term Democratic lawmaker was deciding to call it quits given his rising influence on Capitol Hill.

A member of both the Ways and Means and Budget committees, Kildee has been a leader on securing funding for water infrastructure improvements in Flint, his hometown and the location of the drinking water crisis that made international headlines in the 2010s. And he enjoys a close friendship with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York; the two men both entered Congress in 2013.

But after recovering from the removal of a cancerous tumor, Kildee told The New York Times that he began to think more about the amount of time he was spending in Washington and away from his family back home in Michigan's 8th district. And that's when he decided not to run again in 2024.

Kildee told the newspaper that the current session of Congress has been the "most unsatisfying period' he's been a part of since joining the lower chamber, adding that his feelings are rooted in "the absolute chaos and the lack of any serious commitment to effective governance."

While many would expect a Democratic member out of power to make such a remark about the state of the House, Kildee has served in the minority before, from 2013 to 2019. And he has never let that affect his congressional work with GOP lawmakers.

For Kildee, the leadership clashes that have plagued the Republican conference and spilled into the larger House have proven to be deeply problematic.

"That has contributed to the sense of frustration," the congressman told the Times, adding that it's not easy to sacrifice so much to serve in Washington just "to be witness to this chaos."

The House throughout 2023 has been plagued by GOP infighting, which led the removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker, along with failed and very public speakership candidacies from Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Tom Emmer of Minnesota. While Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana eventually secured the speaker's gavel, he remains untested in managing the volatile Republican conference.

Read the original article on Business Insider