Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Rules Committee, announced his retirement on the floor of the chamber Wednesday morning.

Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) (Melina Mara/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“I take the unusual step of announcing this from the floor of Congress for two reasons,” Dreier said of his surprise announcement. “First, this is where my fellow Californians sent me to represent them. Second, I am a proud institutionalist, and I believe that this institution is as great as it has ever been.”

Dreier’s San Dimas-area 26th congressional district is being dismantled by redistricting, going from a swing seat to one that overwhelmingly favors Democrats.

The 59-year-old congressman first took office in 1981. He said he considered retiring last cycle but chose to stay in order to tackle government spending, pass free trade agreements, work on the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership and adjust the House rules so that members of both parties can offer amendments.

“This work is far from over, and I intend to spend this year working toward greater bipartisan progress,” he said. “I have always believed that Republicans and Democrats alike serve the American people best when we find ways to build bipartisan consensus.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 ranking Republican in the House, recently suggested that his fellow Californian could challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D).

“He’s a good member,” he said. “I think he’s very smart, he’s smart on issues. I think he’d be a big contrast.”