Houston Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, 83, announces retirement from Congress

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who is losing her Houston-area seat to a Republican in November, announced she is retiring from Congress on Tuesday, saying she hoped her presence on Capitol Hill wouldn’t be so sorely missed.

In a message to supporters that was posted on Twitter, Lee said that the vote in the U.S. House on Monday evening on a spending bill that would keep the government open through February was proof of how difficult it would be to reconcile issues between fellow Democrats. During a contentious vote on the spending bill, she said she realized she would no longer be able to find a common ground with her colleagues.

“I am not taking this vote lightly and remain troubled at the unwillingness of many Democrats to compromise, to compromise in the name of our country and to sacrifice the concepts of shared sacrifice and compromise as we embark on the most challenging times in our nation’s history,” Lee wrote. “The nature of the victory on Monday night during the continuing resolution did nothing to change that reality.”

She went on to say that was a bipartisan bill — which would have kept the government open — that most of her Republican colleagues also agreed with.

“And yet, more of us left the conference room with a continuing resolution that, while being better than nothing, looks like nothing more than a continuation of what we just saw,” she wrote. “My willingness to stand before you and re-pledge to work together as a member of this body to improve the lives of all is no longer conditional.”

Lee, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, said she would be retiring from the House and her state Senate seat. She did not say why she planned to retire, but it could be due to a rift between herself and other top Democrats about a budget agreement that allocates more than $1 billion for border fencing.

Meanwhile, another Dallas Democrat, U.S. Rep. Al Green, who is also losing his House seat to a Republican in November, voiced opposition to the spending bill last week, claiming that it effectively funds a wall along the Texas-Mexico border. Other Democrats who criticized the measure said it did not go far enough to address a Democratic immigration plan that failed to pass the House in the summer.

The House would have to vote on the spending measure again later this week.

Read more at the New York Times.


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