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Rep. Yarmuth, Chair of House Budget Panel, Won’t Seek Reelection

October 12, 2021 by Dan McCue
In this Sept. 21, 2021, photo House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth, D-Ky., joined at left by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Eight-term Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., chairman of the House Budget Committee, announced Tuesday that he will not run for reelection next year.

In a video first emailed to supporters, Yarmuth said he remains in “excellent health,” but at 75, wants to spend more of his golden years with his family in Louisville.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” he said in the tweet that announced his impending departure from Capitol Hill to the rest of the world.

“I will continue to fight for Louisville in Washington for another 15 months, and then, I will retire from Congress,” the tweet said.

Yarmuth ran for Congress for the first time in 2006, winning an upset victory by a narrow margin over Republican Rep. Anne Northrup.

At the time, Northrup was a five-term incumbent and she was determined to make a comeback two years later. In 2008, however, Yarmuth beat her by 18 percentage points and his next five campaigns were all blowouts, won by no less than 25 percentage points.

In the nearly three-minute long video embedded in his tweet, Yarmuth said he wasn’t looking for a new career when he ran for Congress the first time 15 years ago.

“I simply wanted to stop the [George W.] Bush agenda by helping the Democrats win control of the House of Representatives,” he said. “If I could do that, whether I liked the job or not, I would have accomplished something important.”

Yarmuth also admitted he never expected to be in Congress for as long as he has been.

“I couldn’t imagine being here longer than 10 years,” he  said. “Every election I was asked how long I intended to serve, and I never had an answer. Today I do.”

Yarmuth then spoke of the “incomparable joy” he felt spending time with his young grandson.

“Well, I’ve just become a lame duck,” he said philosophically. 

“I intend to spend the next 15 months working hard to build on my proudest moment, the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which I authored and managed through Congress. We can still do much more for the American people. And since that progress will unfortunately not be done on a bipartisan basis, my chairmanship of the House Budget Committee puts me in a pivotal position to help build an even better future for our citizens.”

Yarmuth’s term ends in January 2023. Moments after his announcement, State Sen. Morgan McGarvey, the top-ranking Democrat in the GOP-controlled Kentucky state Senate, announced via Twitter that he will run for Yarmuth’s seat next year.

In a written statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Over his sixteen years in Congress, Chairman Yarmuth has helped forge an America where more children have access to quality education, more families have access to affordable health care and more workers have access to the good-paying jobs of the 21st Century Economy.  

“His tireless work to pass the historic American Rescue Plan – which put shots in arms, money in pockets, workers back to jobs and kids safely back to school – has helped save lives and provide desperately needed relief to families, workers and small businesses, and leaves an enduring impact in the lives of millions,” she continued, calling it “an honor and a joy” to work with her soon-to-be former colleague.

 “When Chairman Yarmuth retires at the end of his term, the Congress will lose a greatly respected Member and our Caucus will lose a friend whose wise counsel, expertise, humor and warmth is cherished,” Pelosi said.

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