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Head of House Ways & Means Panel to Retire at End of Year

Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced last week that he will retire from office at the end of the year after more than a quarter of a century in Congress.

"Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the United States Congress," Thomas, 64, said during a news conference in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA, last Monday. Thomas was first elected to Congress in 1978, and has been chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee since 2001.

Over the past five years, he has played a prominent role in writing tax legislation for the energy industry, as well as legislation for Medicare, Social Security and a number of other issues.

Immediately following Thomas' announcement, Rep. Clay Shaw of Florida, the second ranking Republican on the committee, said he would be a candidate to succeed Thomas as head of the tax-writing committee. In addition to sitting on the committee, Shaw is chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade.

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