Dreier becomes latest lawmaker to announce retirement

Rep. David Dreier, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, announced Wednesday he will not seek another term.

Speaking on the House floor, Dreier called himself a "proud institutionalist" and said Congress is as great as it has ever been.

Dreier's departure is not entirely unexpected. Due to the 2010 Census, California drew new maps, and Dreier's new district would have been the 32nd District, where only a quarter of all registered voters are Republicans. About half are registered as Democrats and many are Latino.

Redistricting in California has made races tough for several incumbents. Three other longtime Republicans -- Jerry Lewis, Wally Herger and Elton Gallegly -- have announced plans to retire.

Dreier was one of the top fundraisers in Congress, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested that Dreier run statewide, perhaps for the Senate. But Federal Election Commission reports from just a few weeks ago show he only pocketed $10,000 in the final quarter of last year. He went as high as $207,000 in the same quarter in 2003.

The Rules Committee is one of the most powerful panels on Capitol Hill. Often called the "Speaker's Committee," the Rules Committee is the gateway to the House floor for legislation.

The Rules Committee does just what its name implies: it sets the ground rules for how the House will consider most pieces of legislation. That includes how much time is allocated for debate and what amendments may be in order, if any.

Dreier assumed the helm of the Rules Committee in 1999 and wielded the gavel until the GOP gave up control in early 2007. He then re-assumed the chairmanship last year when the GOP again seized control of the House.

Dreier said he had considered leaving three years ago but chose to return to focus on getting free trade bills passed, enhancing national security and cutting spending.

"We have fundamentally altered the federal spending process, focusing on fiscal discipline rather than profligacy," he said.

All total, 21 Democrats and 16 Republicans in the House have announced that they would retire or seek another office.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.