Updated: 4:44 p.m.
Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) stepped down from the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, one day after he accepted the Obama administration’s nomination to be the secretary of the Army.
“That’s just the right thing to do,— McHugh told Roll Call earlier Wednesday.
In leaving the committee, McHugh also gives up his position as ranking member. McHugh explained that the Republican Steering Committee deserved the time to begin vetting his colleagues who have expressed interest in replacing him as the top Republican on the panel.
A meeting of the GOP steering panel has not been scheduled, according to Republican sources.
Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee, formally announced Tuesday that he will seek the Armed Services ranking member job. Republican Reps. Mac Thornberry (Texas) and Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) have also publically indicated they are considering a run.
McHugh demurred when asked who he thought should succeed him as the panel’s top Republican.
“There are as many as three top-tier candidates,— McHugh said. “That’s the job of the steering committee.—
McHugh replaced retired Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) as the ranking member last year. His nomination as Army secretary must still win confirmation from the Senate.