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House Armed Services Chairman McKeon Said Ready to Retire

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon has decided not to run for a 12th term in Congress, according a person familiar with his decision who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement.

The California Republican will “make an on-camera statement” tomorrow morning, the committee said today in a press release without elaborating.

McKeon’s departure will open up a shuffle for control of the committee that sets Pentagon policy and spending levels for weapons systems.

If Republicans keep their majority, the frontrunner for chairman is Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, who’s now vice chairman. Thornberry could face competition for the post from Representatives Randy Forbes of Virginia and Michael Turner of Ohio.

As chairman since 2011, McKeon has been his party’s bullhorn on national defense, advocating for robust military spending at a time when federal deficit reduction efforts are forcing billions of dollars in cuts.

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