Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, will retire at the end of his current term, he announced last week.
Roe, 74, has represented east Tennessee in Congress for the past 11 years and served as chairman of the HVAC from 2017 to 2019. Two of his most notable accomplishments are the MISSION Act, which the president signed last year, and the Forever GI Bill, which became law in 2017.
The MISSION Act aims to improve veteran access to health care by providing treatment options beyond Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospitals.
The Forever GI Bill brought significant changes to education benefits for service members, veterans and their families. The bill removed some expiration dates for benefits, extended benefits for Purple Heart recipients and other groups, and allowed for benefits to be transferred after death. It also enabled National Guardsmen to count time spent receiving medical care or recovering from injuries received on active duty toward their GI Bill eligibility.
“Representative Roe has been an important supporter of veterans, service members and their families throughout his career,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, NGAUS president. “We thank him for his service and support to the National Guard and his contribution of significant legislation that will help the Guard, veterans and families for years to come.”
Roe said in a statement that serving his community has been the honor of his life.
“I will be forever grateful for the trust my friends and neighbors put in me to represent them,” he said. “As someone who practiced medicine for over 30 years, I said I would serve five or six terms because I never intended this job to be a second career.”
Roe said he decided to retire at the end of the 116th Congress following “prayerful consideration.” He thanked his family and said he looked forward to spending time with them, including his wife, Clarinda, children and grandchildren.
Roe is the latest House Republican to announce they will retire or seek another office. As of this week, at least 26 House Republicans have announced plans to leave their current seats. Another four Republicans have retired or announced their retirements.
On the other side of the aisle, at least nine House Democrats and one senator have announced their retirements.