U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, who served six years as the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said he won’t run for a 12th term in the 2014 elections.
As chairman of the committee in 2011 and 2012, Bachus pushed for free markets and less-intrusive regulation. During the debate in 2009 and 2010 on legislation that became known as the Dodd-Frank law, he led opposition to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“What I would like to see above anything else before I leave is a spending reduction plan that will put the federal government on a sensible and sustainable financial path going forward,” Bachus, 65, said today in a statement.
His district, representing the Birmingham area, is one of the most Republican-leaning in the U.S. In his last re-election bid, in 2012, he won with more than 71 percent of the vote.
While chairman of Financial Services, Bachus was embroiled in an ethics probe after a November 2011 report on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” alleged that as he was receiving privileged briefings on the economy, he profited from securities trades made during negotiations on the bailout of the banking industry. After an investigation, the Office of Congressional Ethics cleared him of insider-trading violations, though the allegations cast a shadow over his chairmanship.
Bachus became the first Alabama Republican to head a House committee since 1873 when he succeeded Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank as chairman of Financial Services after Republicans won the House majority in the 2010 elections. House Republican rules permitting only three two-year terms as the chairman or top minority member of a panel forced him to give up the gavel in 2013; he had served as ranking member from 2007 through 2010. He remains a member of the committee with the title “chairman emeritus.”
A native of Birmingham, Bachus owned a sawmill and was a trial lawyer before beginning a political career.
He said he intends to serve out his term, which runs until Jan. 3, 2015.