Rep. Brian Higgins, Democrat of New York, said Sunday he would leave Congress in February.
Mr. Higgins, a Buffalo native who spent 19 years in the House, said he would resign before the end of his term after a year in which “institutional norms were compromised.”
“I think unfortunately this is the start of a bad trend, not the end,” he said.
Mr. Higgins, 64, noted that the House was rife with chaos and dysfunction. He blames the growing influence of Republicans seeking public attention and viral moments through aggressive speeches and controversial legislative amendments.
“These are all the individuals who have weaponized the legislative process,” he said. “And that’s where I think the current House leadership has failed miserably.” They are currently the poster child for dysfunction, as evidenced by their own inability to identify what they want and develop a strategy to achieve what they want.
Under New York law, Gov. Kathy Hochul must call a special election next year to find a successor to Mr. Higgins.
In his 10th term in Congress, Mr. Higgins is a ranking member of the Ways and Means and Budget committees. He plans to remain in office until the first week of February. His resignation will open a seat representing New York’s 26th Congressional District, a heavily Democratic area including Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
Dozens of outgoing members of the Senate and House have announced their decision not to seek re-election, and a growing number have said their departure would amount to retirement from public service.
Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, announced last week that he would not seek another term.
Mr. Higgins said he was recently in the running to fill a position as president of Buffalo State University. Once his intentions to leave Washington became more widely known in his district, more opportunities began to materialize, as did plans to find his replacement.
“I feel lucky to have a choice here,” he said.
In a social media post praising Mr. Higgins after his announcement, Governor Hochul suggested he might have accepted the position as president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. But he said in an interview that no decision had been made.
Other tributes quickly began pouring in from state officials.
“Throughout his historic career, he was an integral part of the transformation of our region,” State Senator Sean M. Ryan said in a statement.
State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy said Mr. Higgins changed “the way the nation views Buffalo,” revitalizing the city’s waterfront and securing federal investments in infrastructure.
The two state lawmakers, both Democrats from Western New York, are considered possible candidates to run for Mr. Higgins’s House seat.