Politics

Virginia's Moran Announces Retirement From Congress (Updated) (Video)

Moran will leave Congress after 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior appropriator and progressive stalwart James P. Moran will step down at the end of this year, making him the third House Democrat in just three days to announce his retirement.

The 12-term Virginia lawmaker announced his decision in a Wednesday morning statement obtained early by CQ Roll Call.

[field name=iframe]

Moran represents a strong Democratic district that encompasses the inner suburbs of Washington, D.C., including Alexandria and Arlington. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will likely not have trouble holding the seat in 2014. (To see which other House members are leaving Congress, check out Roll Call's Casualty List.)

But with Moran’s departure, the House does lose a member with deep ties to the institution. In his 23 years in office, he served all but two terms on the Appropriations Committee, and he’ll leave in December as the ranking Democrat on the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

“My chosen role in the U.S. Congress has been an appropriator,” Moran said in his statement Wednesday.

The timing of Moran's retirement announcement is significant in that respect: It comes just hours before the House is set to vote on a historic omnibus spending bill that could restore Congress’ power over the federal purse strings.

Moran could be gaming to leave Congress on a high note.

“I’ve seen the appropriations process at its height, and more recently its nadir,” Moran said. “When the appropriations process is working, the government functions on behalf of the people, the economy is stronger, and the country overall becomes more inclusive, egalitarian and productive.”

The omnibus on the floor on Wednesday, Moran continued, “represents a budgetary cease fire, and I hope a historic turning point in getting this necessary funding process back on track.”

Over the years Moran has served on Capitol Hill, his professional accomplishments were sometimes overshadowed by personal scandals. Brash and occasionally outspoken to a fault, he has shoved members leaving the House floor, suggested that the Jewish community pushed for the U.S. invasion in Iraq in 2003 and possibly squandered a small fortune in the stock market. In 2012, his son resigned as field director for his father’s re-election campaign after he was caught on camera advocating voter fraud.

But Moran has always been a team player in the Democratic power structure, trusted by leadership to take reliable, liberal, party-line votes.

“I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate,” said Moran, “grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation.”

Read Moran’s full statement below:

Washington D.C. -- Representative Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee and senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that he will not seek re-election.

“After 35 years as a public servant, as Mayor of Alexandria, and for the past 23 as a member of the House of Representatives, it’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge. It’s been an honor to represent Northern Virginia. I couldn’t be more fortunate to have spent my career working with such wonderful people trying to make this one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family.

“My chosen role in the U.S. Congress has been as an appropriator. I first served as staff to the Senate Appropriations Committee under Chairman Warren Magnuson in my 20s. I’ve seen the appropriations process at its height, and more recently its nadir. When the appropriations process is working, the government functions on behalf of the people, the economy is stronger, and the country overall becomes more inclusive, egalitarian and productive.

“With the Murray-Ryan agreement, and the work Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey, and their outstanding Appropriations’ staff exerted to reach the omnibus budget deal we will vote on this week, we’ve achieved a bipartisan agreement that deserves support. It represents a budgetary cease-fire and I hope a historic turning point in getting this necessary funding process back on track.

“To my family, friends, staff and supporters, thank you for all you have meant me over the past four decades in political office. What has kept me motivated all these years is serving you and our community. I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation.”