(The Hill) – Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a key ally of former President Trump who was poised to be the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans were to win back the House in 2022, said Monday he will resign at the end of this month to pursue another opportunity.
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“Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. I’m writing to let you know I’ve decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021. …” Nunes told constituents.
“Rest assured, I have not, by any means, given up our collective fight—I’ll just be pursuing it through other means.”
GOP sources said Nunes has been hired to run Trump’s new social media platform.
“I’m sure he will be making a lot of $$,” one GOP lawmaker said in a text message.
A 10-term congressman, Nunes became a lightning rod during the Trump years when he was serving as the Intelligence Committee chairman. In April 2017, he was forced to recuse himself from his own panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election the year before for revealing classified information.
Later, he would emerge as one of Trump’s chief defenders on Capitol Hill when Democrats launched impeachment proceedings against Trump for pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 elections.
The Nunes news shocked many of his GOP colleagues, who had expected him to seek — and win — the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee gavel if Republicans take back the House in next year’s midterm elections. That gavel had been a career-long ambition and he had unsuccessfully sought it years earlier.
Longtime Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the current ranking member of Ways and Means who earlier served as chairman, announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year.
Nunes’s resignation means there will now be a wide-open race to be the top Republican on Ways and Means. Senior Republicans who could run include Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.), who is also contemplating a bid for an open Senate seat or the Budget Committee gavel.