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Congressman Who Helped Save Clinton's Tax Bill to Retire

August 07, 1993|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Rep. Timothy J. Penny, the maverick Minnesota Democrat turned powerbroker who helped save President Clinton's tax bill, stunned colleagues Friday by announcing that he will not seek reelection next year.

Penny's announcement came only hours after he helped ensure the narrow passage of Clinton's deficit-reduction package by corralling the critical votes of several fellow conservative Democrats.

"After 10 years in Congress it is evident that far too many politicians end up staying far too long," the six-term congressman said, his voice breaking.

Penny, 41, ruled out running for the U.S. Senate or Minnesota governor in 1994. He said he does not know what he will do when he leaves Congress after next year. Some friends said they expect him to enter business.

"My family, my friends, my roots call me home and I want my four children to finish school in Minnesota so that they might grow to love our state as much as I do," said Penny, whose children are ages 7 to 14.

Penny had become chairman of a House Agriculture subcommittee this year and the leader of a small band of conservative Democrats that wrung concessions from the White House on the President's deficit-reduction plan.

He got the White House and House leadership to promise Thursday that Congress will consider a new round of spending cuts this fall. The plan is credited with securing at least half a dozen votes for Clinton's bill.

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