Republican US Representative Ken Buck leaving Congress, blames dysfunction

March 13, 2024 1:00 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Republican U.S. Representative Ken Buck will leave Congress at the end of next week, he said on Tuesday, blaming a “breakdown of civility” in a chamber led by his party’s slim and fractious majority.

The earlier-than-planned exit of the 65-year-old Colorado lawmaker will reduce Republicans’ majority in the House of Representatives to 218-213. That narrow margin has already posed problems for Speaker Mike Johnson, as it did for his ousted predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

Buck told reporters he had seen heightened dysfunction in U.S. politics for a while.

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“I have witnessed this for a while and I think that we are seeing a breakdown of civility, a breakdown of, really, priorities in terms of what the American people want,” Buck said, without blaming his own party.

Asked if his exit would make it harder to manage the chamber, he replied, “What could be harder?”

Republican hardliners have repeatedly bucked their leadership on votes, leaving Johnson to lean on a manoeuvre called suspension of the rules to pass critical legislation like bills averting government shutdowns, relying on Democratic support.

Buck himself has broken with his party on key votes, including on the impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas, the top border official in President Joe Biden’s administration. The House’s first vote on that matter failed, an embarrassment for Johnson.

Buck had said on Nov. 1 that he would not seek reelection at the end of his term.