House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress early. Chaffetz previously announced that he would not seek re-election, though he was expected to finish out his term, currently slated to end in 2018.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Chaffetz said:
Serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly nine years has been a rare honor and privilege. When I first ran for Congress in 2008 I promised I would get in, serve, and get out. I told voters I did not believe Congress should be a lifetime career. I knew from day one that my service there would not last forever.
As you know, after careful consideration and long discussion with my wife, Julie, we agree the time has come for us to move on from this part of our life. This week I sent a letter to Governor Herbert indicating my intention to resign from Congress effective June 30, 2017.
The announcement Thursday likely came on the heels of a report from Politico indicating that Chaffetz was not planning to serve out his current term, with the Utah congressman supposedly considering a deal to appear on Fox News.
His statement continued:
I have very much enjoyed serving, but never for a moment have I thought that I was indispensable. I know others can and should serve. The House is known as the “People’s House” because it is made up of a cross section of ordinary Americans who represent almost every walk of life - as it should be. While remaining true to my principles I have made the effort to “reach across the aisle.” I count many Democratic members as my friends. I hope whoever replaces me will do even better.
Rep. Chaffetz made headlines recently when he announced his intention to pursue the purported memo on President Trump kept by now-former FBI Director James Comey.
It's currently unclear who will take Chaffetz's place as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, though Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is among the names that have been floated since the announcement that Chaffetz would not seek re-election.
“I've got enough to say grace over today,” Gowdy told Independent Journal Review last month. “I'm not thinking about things that don't exist, either in reality or in any realm other than the purely speculative.”
Now that Chaffetz has announced that his seat will become vacant sooner than expected, Gowdy's name could very well re-emerge as a possible replacement to chair the Oversight Committee.