- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat and chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday he intends to retire at the end of his term this year.

Mr. Obey made the surprise announcement at a Capitol Hill news conference.

“There is a time to stay and a time to go — and this is my time to go,” the lawmaker said.

His decision is another blow to Democrats trying to defend their majority in an election season of voter discontent.

Mr. Obey, 71, won the first of 21 terms in 1969 — when a special election was held after President Nixon tapped Melvin Laird to be his defense secretary. Mr. Obey faced a potentially bruising re-election campaign this fall.

Mr. Obey first became chairman of the Appropriations Committee in 1994.

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