(CNN) - Rep. Xavier Becerra, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for U.S. trade representative, pulled himself out of the running Tuesday.
In a statement released by his office, the California Democrat said he's more interested in working alongside Obama from his seat in the Congress.
"I am grateful for that privilege and now see a rare opportunity to push across the goal line much of the unfinished business of America: investing in our infrastructure and our workers, universal healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, and scrubbing a tax code that’s out of shape and behind the times," he said in the statement.
“Working for and with incoming President Barack Obama would be an opportunity of a lifetime. I will get to experience that thrill… by working by his side in the People’s House just down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
Democratic sources told CNN earlier this week that Obama had formally offered Becerra the position.
But Becerra told La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper, that he felt trade would not be a major focus in the Obama administration.
"I came to the conclusion that it would not be priority No. 1, and perhaps, not even priority No. 2 or 3," he told the paper Tuesday.
Becerra, whose district includes much of Los Angeles, is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He was also recently elected vice-chair of the House Democratic caucus.