Ken Buck Cuts Short House Term, Leaving Republicans Down Yet Another Member

Representative Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, announced on Tuesday that he would leave Congress at the end of next week, cutting short his final term in office in a move that will further shrink his party’s already tiny majority.

The decision, which caught House Republican leaders by surprise, is the latest in a long string of losses for Speaker Mike Johnson and his party, who will control just 218 out of the chamber’s 435 seats after Mr. Buck departs.

In a brief statement, Mr. Buck, a veteran conservative, thanked his constituents and said he hoped to remain involved in the political process while also getting to spend “more time in Colorado with my family.”

Last year Mr. Buck said he would retire at the end of this term, citing his party’s election denialism and the refusal by many Republicans to condemn the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. His plans were seen as unlikely to affect the ultimate balance of power in the House, given that Republicans would be all but certain to hold his solidly conservative district in eastern Colorado.

And losing Mr. Buck, who has broken with his party on some major issues — including the recent impeachment of Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary — was not exactly seen as costing the party a loyal vote.

But Mr. Buck’s decision to leave months before the end of his term on March 22, the same day as the deadline for Congress to pass a package of spending bills to avoid a partial government shutdown, creates yet another headache for House Republicans who have lurched from chaos to crisis for more than a year, leaving them with even less of a cushion to wield their small majority.

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