- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2015

Republican Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania announced Friday he will not seek re-election in 2016, departing Capitol Hill after serving a swath of the Philadelphia suburbs and much of Amish country since 1997.

The 76-year-old Republican is an Air Force veteran who held a key position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As chairman of its health panel, his fingerprints were on a long-sought fix to Medicare’s funding formula and legislation to speed the discovery of medical cures.

“With great appreciation for the support of all those who have contacted me to urge me to run for re-election, I have decided, after prayerful consideration, not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2016,” Mr. Pitts said in a statement.

He thanked to his constituents, staff and his wife, Ginny.

Last month, Mr. Pitts was picked to serve on a panel that will investigate whether abortion providers are following the law when harvesting fetal tissue for research. The select committee was established in response to outrage over undercover videos that appeared to show officials negotiating the sale of fetal body party for research.

Such transfers are legal only if they’re not done for profit.

“There is still a lot of work to do, and knowing Joe, it’s full speed ahead until the final bells ring on the 114th Congress,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, said.

Mr. Upton also praised Mr. Pitts as a “legislative workhorse” and type of Renaissance man who built his home in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, “with his bare hands.”

Earlier his career, Mr. Pitts founded a congressional working group on electronic warfare and co-chaired a human rights commission that probed the plight of groups in Egypt and North Korea, as well as victims of the Islamic State, according to his office.

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