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Burgess announces House retirement after 11 terms

Small-town doctor turned lawmaker often focused on health issues

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, is retiring after his current term ends.
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, is retiring after his current term ends. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Michael C. Burgess will retire at the end of the term, his 11th in Congress, the Texas Republican announced Monday.

In a statement Burgess said that with a “satisfied and grateful heart” he would not seek reelection in the district which stretches from the northwest suburbs of Dallas suburbs to the Oklahoma border. Burgess, who will turn 73 next month, did not give a reason for his retirement.

“It has been the honor of my life to have gone from a small-town doctor delivering babies, with no prior political experience, to elected to represent my friends and neighbors in the United States Congress,” Burgess said in a statement distributed by his campaign.

Burgess’ seat is not considered competitive. He did not have a Democratic opponent in 2022 and beat a Libertarian Party candidate by nearly 39 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race in Texas’ 26th District as Solid Republican.

Candidates have until Dec. 11 to  file for Texas’ March 5 primary.

Burgess sits on the House Budget Committee and is the second-highest ranking Republican on both the House Rules and Energy and Commerce committees. He was the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee for four years during the 115th and 116th Congresses.

In 2020 he ran for the top Republican spot for the full committee, losing to the current Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. On the panel and elsewhere he has leaned on his expertise as a former obstetrician-gynecologist.

A co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, current head of the House Budget Committee’s health task force, Burgess has long been involved in health policy issues on Capitol Hill. Across different policy debates he has sought to reduce government intervention in the health care system.

He rallied against the Democratic-led COVID-19 relief measure, arguing the legislative packages cost too much and Congress had too little oversight of spending. He repeatedly pressed then-Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to further investigate the origins of the coronavirus in China and has lamented that the pandemic eroded public trust in public health institutions.

He has also made Medicare physician payments one of his key issues, and in 2015 he led the passage of a law that reformed the way physicians are paid under Medicare with a focus on value and quality of care instead of volume.

Burgess, who has held no other political office, first ran to succeed Majority Leader Dick Armey in 2002, a run he said was motivated by a desire to serve the nation after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. In an upset, he beat Armey’s son, Scott, in a primary runoff.

Ariel Cohen and Jessie Hellman contributed to this report.