The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

April 24, 2013

Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"I didn't get my arm twisted by anybody on that. Because that's Montana," Baucus said. "I have a sign on my desk: 'Montana comes first.' "

Baucus infuriated Democratic colleagues in 2001, just ahead of a potentially tough re-election fight, when he worked with Republicans to write one of the largest tax cuts in American history just months after George W. Bush won the White House. In 2003, he helped Bush pass his Medicare prescription drug plan, but in 2005 he led the opposition to Bush's effort to partially privatize Social Security.

Baucus, 71, has spent most of his adult life in Washington, having been elected to the House in 1974 and to the Senate in 1978. He explained his decision to retire in squarely personal terms, saying he had been wrestling with the idea since his mother died just over a year ago.

"It made me realize I'm not immortal. We're all mortals," Baucus said. "I don't want to leave here when I'm 80 years old. There are things I want to do. . . . I want to see what life is like outside the United States Senate."

With more than $5 million already in his campaign war chest, Baucus had been aggressively raising funds for re-election in a state that gave Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney a 13-percentage point victory in 2012.

"It's a big loss for the Senate," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who drafted the 2001 tax cuts and the Medicare law with Baucus.

Baucus became the fifth Senate committee chairman, with more than 140 combined years of experience, to announce his intention to retire next year. The others include John Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., 75, chairman of the commerce committee, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, 73, chairman of the health committee. In recent years, longtime committee chairmen Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.. died in office.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video