Congressman David Obey, the current Chairman of the House Appropriations committee, is retiring after 42 years of service. He doesn’t pull any punches in his statement:
In the last months, two colleagues, Charlie Wilson and Jack Murtha, have died. Both were 76. For me, that is only four years away. At the end of this term I will have served in the House longer than all but 18 of the 10,637 men and women who have ever served there. The wear and tear is beginning to take its toll. Given that fact, I have to ask myself how I want to spend the time I have left. Frankly, I do not know what I will do next. All I do know is that there has to be more to life than explaining the ridiculous, accountability destroying rules of the Senate to confused, angry, and frustrated constituents.
I absolutely believe that, after the economy returns to a decent level of growth, we must attack our long-term budget deficit. But, perhaps I expect too much because, in addition to an attack on the federal budget deficit, I also want to see an equal determination to attack the family security deficit, the family income deficit, and the opportunity deficit which also plague the American people.
I am, frankly, weary of having to beg on a daily basis that both parties recognize that we do no favor for the country if we neglect to make the long-term investments in education, science, health, and energy that are necessary to modernize our economy and decline to raise the revenue needed to pay for those crucial investments. I do not want to be in a position as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of producing and defending lowest common denominator legislation that is inadequate to that task and, given the mood of the country, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.
Seems like he’s feeling liberated.