Republican China committee chairman Gallagher retiring from US Congress

FILE PHOTO: House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party holds hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher, who chairs the House select committee on competition with China, said on Saturday he will not run for re-election, four days after he was one of only four House Republicans to buck party leadership and vote against impeaching President Joe Biden's top border official.

Gallagher, 39, a four-term House member and former Marine Corps intelligence officer, issued a statement noting that the authors of the U.S. Constitution had not intended elective office to be for a lifetime.

"Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old. And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election," he said in the statement.

Gallagher on Tuesday joined three other Republican House members in voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. As the effort failed by one vote, Gallagher was surrounded on the House floor by members of his party urging him to flip his vote.

Gallagher said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece afterward that impeachment would not only fail to resolve problems at the border with Mexico but "also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations."

Gallagher, a member of both the House Armed Services and intelligence committees, has spent much of his time this year chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, a bipartisan panel charged with investigating U.S. relations with China and developing strategies to help improve the country's ability to compete with China.

Republicans formed the select committee when they took control of the House in January 2023, part of an effort to raise awareness about issues behind growing tensions with China. A hard line toward China is one of the few policies with bipartisan support in the deeply divided U.S. Congress and Gallagher has been praised for smoothly working with Democrats on the panel.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Diane Craft)