WASHINGTON — Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who frequently defied his own party and announced last fall he would not seek reelection, said Tuesday he will resign from Congress at the end of next week, further shrinking the GOP’s already razor-thin majority.

“Today I am announcing that I will depart Congress at the end of next week,” Buck said in a statement. “I look forward to staying involved in our political process, as well as spending more time in Colorado and with my family.”

His departure will cut the House Republican margin to 218-213; Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., will continue to have two votes to spare before needing Democrats to govern. But illnesses and other unexpected absences could make his already difficult job even more challenging.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the news broke, Johnson suggested he did not get a heads-up from Buck.

“I was surprised by Ken’s announcement. I’m looking forward to talking with him about that,” the speaker said.

Other GOP colleagues said they were taken aback by Buck’s decision. “Very surprising, very disturbing, very alarming, very concerning,” said Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas.

Buck is a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, but he made a name for himself in Washington for frequently breaking with his party on major issues.

He criticized his fellow Republicans for echoing former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He has expressed doubts that Republicans have found any evidence that President Joe Biden has committed an impeachable offense. And he faced multiple death threats from conservatives after refusing to back a key Trump ally, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker in October.

Most recently, Buck broke with his party and was one of three Republicans who voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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