Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election.
The California Congressman explained why he chose to make his announcement on the House floor. "First, this is where my fellow Californians sent me to represent them. Second, I am a proud institutionalist, and I believe that this institution is as great as it has ever been," he said.
He added that he considered retiring three years ago, but ultimately chose not to for four reasons. "(1) to reverse the very dangerous 82% increase in non-defense discretionary spending that we had in the previous two Congresses; (2) to finally pass the job-creating free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea; (3) to enhance our national security by working to strengthen the legislatures of new and reemerging democracies across the globe through the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership; and (4) to ensure, through the Rules Committee, that both Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to offer their solutions by proposing amendments on the House floor," he said.
Dreier has served in the House since 1981, representing the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. He has been Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee for nine of the past 13 years. His decision has been long expected due to a redistricting process leaving him without an obvious district to run in.
Dreier, a bachelor, was passed over for a GOP leadership position in a controversial decision in 2005 that some observers speculated had to do with questions about his sexuality. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay, was asked if Dreier was passed over because he was too "moderate."
"Yes, in the sense that I marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar,” Frank famously responded, adding that he had no knowledge of his sexuality.