Republican Coburn Leaving U.S. Senate at End of Session

Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican who negotiated with Democrats in deficit-reduction battles, announced tonight he’ll give up his U.S. Senate seat at the end of this congressional session.

The session ends early next January, while Coburn’s current term runs through early 2017. He already had announced he wouldn’t seek a third term in 2016’s November election

“After much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress,” Coburn, 65, who has been fighting cancer, said in a statement released by his office.

“This decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires,” said Coburn, a physician. “My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms.”

Coburn was elected to the Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010. He previously served in the U.S. House from 1995-2001.

Coburn, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, broke ranks with other Republicans on the panel in November to support the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next Federal Reserve chairman. He also voted in favor of her when the full Senate confirmed her appointment by President Barack Obama on Jan. 6

Last year, after a tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, Coburn sought to cover any new disaster-relief aid with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, a stance that drew little support from fellow lawmakers. Coburn also voted against the final $60.2 billion aid package to help communities hit by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

Coburn for years has sought trims in entitlement-program spending during budget negotiations. He was a member of a bipartisan group known as the Gang of Six that tried in 2011 and 2012 to strike a broad deficit-reduction deal.

Seven other senators in the 100-member chamber have previously announced they won’t be seeking new terms.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robin Meszoly in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at

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