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Mike Gallagher
Official portrait, 2018
Chair of the House Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
Assumed office
January 10, 2023
Preceded byPosition established
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byReid Ribble
Personal details
Born
Michael John Gallagher

(1984-03-03) March 3, 1984 (age 40)
Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse
(m. 2019)
Children2
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
National Intelligence University (MS)
Georgetown University (MA, PhD)
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service2006–2013
RankCaptain, USMC
Unit1st U.S. Intelligence Btn.
Battles/warsIraq War

Michael John Gallagher (born March 3, 1984) is an American Republican politician from Brown County, Wisconsin. He is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Wisconsin's 8th congressional district since 2017. His district comprises much of the northeast quadrant of the state of Wisconsin, including the city of Green Bay.

In the 118th United States Congress, Gallagher serves as chairman of the House Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party. He was a decisive vote against the impeachment of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in February 2024, resulting in outrage directed against him from some members of his party. Days later, Gallagher announced he would not run for a fifth term in Congress.[1]

Prior to his election to Congress, Gallagher served as a military intelligence officer for seven years, including overseas deployments in the Iraq War, and worked as committee staff on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is married to Broadway actress Anne Horak Gallagher.

Early years

Gallagher lived in Green Bay through middle school. After his parents' divorce, he moved to California and studied at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, while spending summers in Wisconsin. Gallagher later said his teachers "endowed me with a love for history and set me on a path to earning a Ph.D. with a focus on Cold War history."[2] He graduated in 2002 as valedictorian.[3]

Military

1st Lt. Mike Gallagher reading a book to children at Al Moaine elementary school Rawah, Iraq, 13 October 2008

Gallagher was a United States Marine Corps intelligence officer, serving seven years (2006–13) on active duty.[4] He twice deployed to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq, serving on General David Petraeus's CENTCOM Assessment Team, both as a commander of intelligence teams in Al-Qa'im near the Syrian border. His first deployment was in November 2007 to lead a counterintelligence and human intelligence team, a time where al-Qaeda appeared to have been defeated by the Iraq War troop surge of 2007; giving "some semblance of stability in the town."[5][6] He made a back-to-back deployment from 2008, taking over from a team led by Matt Pottinger.[5] He assessed American military strategy in the Middle East and Central Asia in his role as a counterintelligence officer, and as a member of the CENTCOM assessment team.[7] In an interview with The American Interest, Gallagher was very critical of the Obama administration's subsequent drawdown of United States troops from Iraq, because:

"... all the predictions we made at the time about creating a vacuum and how dangerous that was proved to be true. And I think the broader regional policy in the Obama Administration of seeking accommodation with the Iranian regime in the hopes that this would produce what the President referred to as a new equilibrium in the region produced exactly the opposite: disequilibrium.[6]

Education

Gallagher earned his B.A. in 2006 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. With a growing interest in global security, he changed his major from Spanish to Arabic.[3][8] Gallagher completed a 117-page senior thesis, "New Approaches to Asymmetric Threats in the Middle East: From Fighting to Winning", under the supervision of Frederick Hitz.[9] At this time he completed a summer internship abroad with the RAND Europe (UK) CIC[10] in Cambridge, United Kingdom, working on a strategic study of terrorist groups such as Basque separatists.

Gallagher served his first tour of duty in the Iraq War with the United States Marine Corps. Subsequently, Gallagher began a MSSI (Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence) at National Intelligence University and graduated in 2010.

Gallagher completed a second M.A. in security studies at Georgetown University in 2012. He then began doctoral studies, writing a dissertation on the administrations of Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Cold War,[11] receiving his Ph.D. in government and international relations in 2015.[12] His dissertation committee was chaired by Andy Bennett and included Keir A Lieber and Colin Dueck.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

Gallagher served as a Republican staffer on the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker hired him as a foreign policy advisor in February 2015, in preparation for his 2016 presidential campaign.[14]

After Walker dropped out of the presidential race, Gallagher worked as a senior marketing strategist for Breakthrough Fuel, a supply-chain management company. He then ran for Wisconsin's 8th congressional district seat, to which Reid Ribble was not seeking reelection.[15][16] Gallagher won the primary against Wisconsin state senator Frank Lasee and Forestville village president Terry McNulty.[17]

In the general election, Gallagher defeated Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson,[18] 63% to 36%.[19] He was reelected in 2018 over Brown County assistant district attorney Beau Liegeois.[20]

Tenure

Gallagher voted in line with President Donald Trump's position 93.8% of the time in the 115th Congress and 84.2% of the time in the 116th Congress,[21] but broke with the White House on issues such as the Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[22] He voted against the majority of his party about 8.7% of the time.[23]

In 2018, Gallagher argued that power in the House of Representatives was too concentrated in the leadership; he proposed allowing committee members to choose their own chairs and ranking members, rather than having these positions be selected by the parties' steering committees. This proposal was rejected in a House Republican vote. Gallagher also argued for consolidating the appropriating and authorizing House committees and a reform of the House calendar that would have the chamber sit "at least five days a week for three consecutive weeks, then spend a full week back in their districts" (a change from the current congressional practice of very short legislative workweeks and frequent long weekends allowing members more time in their districts).[24] His unsuccessful reform proposals were praised by Norm Ornstein, a scholar of Congress, as "constructive" although unlikely to be adopted.[24]

Health care and public health

Gallagher voted for the 2017 Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).[21] In 2017, he called the ACA "unsustainable".[25] In 2018, Gallagher voted to expand eligibility for health savings accounts; in 2019, he voted against a proposal to allow the federal government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.[21]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin, Gallagher's district had some of the nation's highest infection rates. He did not take a position on the Wisconsin state legislature's lawsuit seeking to invalidate Governor Tony Evers's directive to mandate the wearing of masks in public as a way to combat the transmission of the virus.[26]

Foreign affairs

Mike Gallagher with Australian MP Andrew Hastie by a statue of Sir David Stirling, the founder of the Special Air Service, at Campbell Barracks in Western Australia in August 2019

In a 2016 profile in the Green Bay Press Gazette, Gallagher blamed President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the success of ISIS in Iraq.[27] In 2019, he wrote it would be "a smart geopolitical move" for the U.S. to buy Greenland, a notion that Trump floated.[28] In 2020, Gallagher voted against a measure to block Trump from taking military action against Iran without Congress's consent.[21] In 2017, he supported a U.S. airstrike in Syria in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack,[29] and in 2020 he supported the U.S. drone strike that targeted Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.[30] In 2019, Gallagher voted for a measure opposing Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.[21]

In 2019, after American video game company Activision Blizzard punished a Hong Kong-based professional gamer for supporting pro-democracy Hong Kong protests, Gallagher accused Blizzard of censorship.[31] He co-signed a letter to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick that read, "As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access."[32]

In 2020, Gallagher and Tom Cotton drafted a bill banning federal agencies, such as the departments of the Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense, from purchasing drugs manufactured in China.[33]

In June 2021, Gallagher was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) against Iraq.[34][35]

During the Russo-Ukrainian War, Gallagher signed a letter advocating for President Biden to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.[36]

In February 2023, Gallagher chaired the first public hearing of the Select Committee on China[37] which exposed trade, industrial and security issues such as military arsenal needs for additional Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs), Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs), Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and other readiness deficits which require urgent attention in order to deter Chinese aggression in East Asia.[38]

In February 2024, Gallagher led a bipartisan Select Committee on China delegation to Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and President-elect Lai Ching-te.[39][40]

Economy

In 2017, Gallagher voted to dismantle the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.[21] In 2019, he voted against increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.[21] He voted in favor of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[21] He voted to repeal a federal regulation barring some companies in the financial sector from including mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts.[21] He supported the 2018 farm bill.[21]

Gallagher has supported bipartisan proposals to use industrial policy to counter Chinese economic power; in 2020, he joined Democrats in favor of a proposal to grant $10 billion "to establish regional tech hubs that would aim to create new companies and boost manufacturing."[41] Gallagher has sponsored legislation to bar federal agencies from purchasing Chinese-manufactured drones.[42] In December 2022, he co-sponsored a bill with Marco Rubio to prohibit Chinese and Russian-owned social networking services from conducting business transactions in the U.S. under security grounds.[43]

Energy and environment

In 2019, Gallagher voted against a resolution to block Trump from withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change.[21] He voted for a measure to ban drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but against a measure to ban drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.[21] He voted for a measure opposing a carbon tax, and for a delay in ozone protection regulations.[21] In 2017, he voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule and to repeal federal regulations to require energy companies to reduce emissions and waste and to disclose payments made to foreign governments.[21] The League of Conservation Voters gave Gallagher a lifetime score of 5%.[44]

Social issues

Gallagher has voted for various anti-abortion measures. He voted against a 2019 measure opposing a ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military.[21] He voted for the 2018 First Step Act.[21] Gallagher voted for the Respect for Marriage Act on December 8, 2022.[45]

Gallagher has been an outspoken critic of the social media platform TikTok, which he describes as "digital fentanyl" because of its allegedly harmful and addictive characteristics.[46][47] Furthermore, he asserts that TikTok's ties to the Chinese Communist Party may result in the promotion and censorship of various content for propaganda purposes, and he has joined other lawmakers attempting to ban TikTok in the United States.[48][49] In the wake of the 2023 attack on Israel by Hamas, Gallagher accused TikTok of "intentionally brainwashing" American youth into supporting Hamas, citing the spike in pro-Palestinian content on the platform following the outbreak of hostilities.[50][51]

Other issues

Gallagher voted against the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, and later voted against adopting two articles of impeachment against Trump, on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.[21]

In 2018, Gallagher voted against a House resolution condemning Trump for his comments attacking four Democratic congresswomen and saying that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came". He declined to call Trump's comments racist, but earlier rebuked Trump supporters for "send her back" chants.[52] Gallagher spoke at a Trump rally in Wisconsin in 2019.[53]

Gallagher voted against restoring part of the Voting Rights Act.[21] He voted against a 2020 bill for District of Columbia statehood.[21] In 2018, he voted to reauthorize the warrantless surveillance program as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[21]

In May 2018, after a meeting at the White House, Trump endorsed Gallagher's proposal for congressional term limits; the proposal also received support from Brian Fitzpatrick, Jodey Arrington, and Vicente González. Gallagher's plan consists of limiting senators to two terms and representatives to six terms (12 years each). It would be grandfathered in order not to apply to sitting members of Congress, except the so-called "freshman class".[54]

On January 6, 2021, Gallagher was one of seven Republicans who did not support their colleagues' efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. These seven signed a letter that, while giving credence to election fraud allegations made by Trump, said Congress did not have the authority to influence the election's outcome.[55]

During the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Gallagher said, "We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now", and told Trump, "you need to call this off".[56] In May 2021, Gallagher and 174 other House Republicans voted against creating a commission to investigate the storming. He attributed his opposition to a desire to have non-public investigations and wanting "key language preventing interference in the over 400 ongoing criminal prosecutions".[57]

On January 9, 2021, Gallagher joined a group of other Republican legislators led by Ken Buck of Colorado in signing a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, asking him to formally request that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi halt efforts to impeach Trump.[58]

Gallagher voted to provide Israel with support following 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[59][60]

As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcomittee for cyber programs, Representative Mike Gallagher greets Army Gen Paul Nakasone, March 2023

Gallagher was a surprise vote against the first impeachment vote against Alejandro Mayorkas; the vote was tied for minutes before another Republican changed to allow a reintroduction of the bill in the future.[61]

Asked whether he was worried about backlash in his district for his vote, Gallagher told a small group of reporters: "That can’t be the North Star that guides your votes and guides your principles.”

"I don't live online, guys," he replied when asked if he's seen feedback on a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining his vote. "Get offline. It's not healthy for you. I talk to human beings."[62]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Gallagher married Broadway actress Anne Horak in September 2019.[69] They have 2 daughters born in June 2020 and August 2022.[70][71][72]

Gallagher is Roman Catholic.[73]

Gallagher has won the title of "fastest man in Congress" in the ACLI Capitol Challenge (a 5k race for individuals working in all branches of government and the media) every year since first taking part in 2017, most recently finishing with a time of 19:57 in 2023.[74][75]

Electoral history

U.S. House (2016–2022)

Year Election Date Elected Defeated Total Plurality
2016 Primary[76] Sep. 9 Mike Gallagher Republican 40,322 74.46% Frank Lasee Rep. 10,705 19.77% 54,152 29,617
Terry McNulty Rep. 3,109 5.74%
General[77] Nov. 8 Mike Gallagher Republican 227,892 62.65% Tom Nelson Dem. 135,682 37.30% 363,780 92,210
2018 General[78] Nov. 6 Mike Gallagher (inc) Republican 209,410 63.69% Beau Liegeois Dem. 119,265 36.28% 328,774 90,145
2020 General[79] Nov. 3 Mike Gallagher (inc) Republican 268,173 64.18% Amanda Stuck Dem. 149,558 35.79% 417,838 118,615
2022 Primary[80] Aug. 9 Mike Gallagher (inc) Republican 79,096 84.55% Shaun Clarmont Rep. 14,377 15.37% 93,549 64,719
General[81] Nov. 8 Mike Gallagher (inc) Republican 223,981 72.21% Paul David Boucher Ind. 48,896 15.76% 310,196 175,085
Jacob J. VandenPlas Lib. 32,057 10.33%
Julie Hancock (write-in) Dem. 3,160 1.02%
Robbie Hoffman (write-in) Dem. 135 0.04%

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