As a rule, when influential members of Congress decide to quit in the middle of their term, and it has nothing to do with any scandals or investigations, it's evidence that all is not going well on Capitol Hill. Cleveland.com reports that Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) is the latest to head for the exits.
Tiberi, a senior member of the House Ways and Means committee, was first elected to Congress in 2000. In 2015, he lost a bid to chair the influential committee that writes tax laws, and became head of its health subcommittee. He contemplated a U.S. Senate run earlier this year.In a statement from Tiberi's office, the congressman said he would leave office by Jan. 31.... Tiberi plans to join the Ohio Business Roundtable, a group made up of CEOs from some of the state's largest businesses.
The New York Times, which reported overnight that this news was likely, said the Ohio Republican's decision reflects "mounting frustration" and "a deepening level of discontent" on Capitol Hill. That's understandable, since Republicans have struggled to do anything of real value since taking over all of the levers of federal power.
Tiberi probably isn't a household name in much of the country, but it's worth remembering that his position on the House Ways and Means Committee gives him a front-row seat to the GOP's efforts at tax reform -- his mid-term resignation suggests the endeavor isn't going especially well -- and he's the current chair of the House Tuesday Group, ostensibly representing the interests of Republican moderates.
The Ohioan also chairs the Ways and Means Committee's panel on health care, which could matter quite a bit if Republicans tried again to take up the issue.
In other words, Tiberi is currently in a position where he can wield some influence on the Hill. And yet, he's leaving anyway, apparently because he believes he can do more working with a state-based business lobbying group.
For those keeping score, Tiberi will be the fourth member of Congress who was re-elected last year and who's quitting before the end of the term. Not including lawmakers who joined Donald Trump's cabinet, Tiberi joins former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who's now a Fox News contributor; former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who's now the attorney general of California; and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who recently announced his resignation in the wake of a sex scandal.
This also doesn't include the dozens of other lawmakers who've announced they'll finish this term, but won't seek re-election.
If anyone thinks things are going well on Capitol Hill, they're wrong.