Another early Republican exit narrows the GOP’s House majority

Ohio GOP Rep. Bill Johnson's early resignation from the House has further eroded the already slim Republican majority in Congress.

Johnson's office announced Tuesday that his last day in office will be Jan. 21 before he becomes president of Youngstown State University until March.

He said in a resignation letter to Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine and Republican US House Speaker Mike Johnson that his district is “proud and patriotic,” but added that he has been ignored by America's “elites.”

“These blue-collar communities, like countless others in the ‘Airplane County' were critical to the building of our great nation and will play a pivotal role in America's future. I am extremely humbled to have been elected repeatedly to serve them,” he said, according to WFMJ.

After Johnson leaves, the House will have 219 Republicans, 213 Democrats and three vacancies, meaning the GOP can only lose two votes on party-line issues if there is a full turnout.

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy left the chamber on Dec. 31, and New York GOP Rep. George Santos was ousted last month.

The now even weaker majority could make things difficult as the House must pass spending bills to keep the government open. Other sensitive issues facing the House of Commons include Ukraine's funding of its war against Russia and Israel, as its operations in Gaza continue after the October 7 attack by Hamas.

The government funding legislation is set to run out in two tiers, with one part of the funding ending on January 19 and the second part due on February 2 – after Mr Johnson is scheduled to leave.

Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) speaks to reporters after a GOP conference meeting at the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill on February 28, 2023 in Washington, DC

(Getty Images)

A special election to replace Mr. Santos in New York's third congressional district is set for Feb. 13, where former Democratic Rep. Tom Souzi has been nominated by his party to try to take back his old seat. to run for governor.

Republicans have nominated Mazi Melesa Pilip who serves in the Nassau County Legislature. Born in Ethiopia, she immigrated to Israel at the age of 12 before moving to the US in 2005.

The race has been described as a tossup, with one poll showing Mr Souzzi three points ahead of Ms Pilip.

New York Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins is set to leave the House next month, giving the GOP some breathing room.

“I've always been a bit impatient and this feature has helped us achieve remarkable progress for this community,” the 64-year-old said in a statement, according to The hill. “But the pace in Washington, DC can be slow and frustrating, especially this year.”

“Therefore, after careful consideration, I have made the difficult decision to leave Congress and explore other ways in which I can build and serve Buffalo and Western New York,” he added.

“Nineteen years ago this month I was first elected to serve in Congress, and doing this work has truly been the honor of a lifetime,” Mr. Higgins said.

“I've never lived in the Capitol, I go there on a mission to change my community and come home on the first flight every week because being in Western New York, talking to people here, gives me an urgent reminder of what I was sent to Washington to do,” he added.