Co-Leader of House Republican Moderate Group to Leave in May

(Bloomberg) -- Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent, a seven-term U.S. House member and co-leader of a caucus of moderate Republicans, said Tuesday he will leave Congress “in the coming weeks.”

His website said he’ll leave in May, though it didn’t give a date. Dent, 57, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, had already said he was planning to retire at the end of his term in January. He has said Republicans are facing a possible Democratic takeover of the House in November due in part to the president’s unpopularity.

Co-Leader of House Republican Moderate Group to Leave in May

“I am especially proud of the work I have done to give voice to the sensible center in our country that is often overlooked or ignored,” Dent said in a statement. “It is my intention to continue to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, must announce a date for a special election within 10 days after Dent leaves office. That election can occur no sooner than 60 days after the governor makes the announcement.

An election before November would occur in Pennsylvania’s current House districts, which have been redrawn under court order for November.

“Charlie Dent is a voice of reason and civility that breaks through the chaos and partisanship of Washington and he will be missed,” Wolf said in a statement. It said he’ll make a decision about a special election once Dent gives an official date for his resignation.

The congressman is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs. His departure will trigger a race to succeed him as the House develops a fiscal 2019 veterans affairs spending bill. It comes a month after Congress enacted a massive fiscal 2018 spending measure that Dent backed.

Dent is one of the co-chairmen of the moderate Tuesday Group of Republicans. In that role he has advocated forging compromises with Democrats on the debt ceiling, budget caps and immigration.

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