Rep. McCrery joins many fellow Republicans who have decided to leave Congress.
(CNN) - A top-ranking Republican on one of the most influential committees in Congress announced Friday that he plans to resign - opening up yet another G.O.P. seat in a year that has already seen 18 Republicans announce plans to leave the chamber.
Jim McCrery, of Louisiana, said at a news conference late Friday that he does not intend to seek re-election to the House next year. McCrery, currently serving his 10th full term, is the ranking Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and was in line to chair the committee before Democrats took control in the 2006 elections.
"Congressman Jim McCrery has distinguished himself in Congress as a key player in the debate of some of the most pressing issues facing our country," said Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "He has been a champion for the American taxpayer and his work on issues like retirement security and health care has also earned him a great deal of respect from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle."
Eighteen other Republicans, including former Speaker Dennis Hastert, have announced that they plan to leave the House by the end of the 110th Congress.
That's compared to four exiting Democrats - giving majority Democrats hope of increasing their hold on the chamber during 2008 elections that also will see voters select a new president.
Cole called McCrery's district, in northwest and west central Louisiana, a safe GOP district and predicted that a Republican will be elected to replace McCrery.