|Updated: 11/30/2012 5:04 pm
||Published: 11/30/2012 11:00 am
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Rep. Tim Griffin, an Arkansas Republican, was named Friday to the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, a move that he says rules out a run for governor or the Senate in 2014.
The panel announced that Griffin, who represents central Arkansas' 2nd District, was among four new Republican members. It is the chief tax-writing committee and members are not allowed to serve on other committees unless they receive a waiver from congressional leaders.
Griffin is the first congressman from Arkansas to serve on the panel since 1992 and the first Republican from the state.
"Being on the Ways and Means Committee is one of the best jobs in Washington," Griffin said. "I think it's great news for my constituents and great news for all of Arkansas."
Griffin said the appointment means he won't run for governor or challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in 2014, races he said he had considered.
"I was going to give some serious thought to other options, but this is such an honor and it is exactly the subject matter I'm interested in, that I think holds the key to a lot of our fiscal problems," Griffin said.
The panel is the oldest committee in Congress and also deals with legislation related to trade agreements, the national debt, federal revenues and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Only eight Arkansas residents have served on the committee since it was founded in 1789.
The last Arkansas congressman to serve on the panel was Beryl Anthony, a Democrat who represented south Arkansas' 4th District. The late Congressman Wilbur Mills, who represented Arkansas' 2nd District, chaired the panel for 18 years and remains the longest serving chairman of the committee.
The announcement leaves Republicans uncertain on who will challenge Pryor, who announced earlier this year that he would seek a third term. Others seen as potential challengers include Rep. Steve Womack and incoming Rep. Tom Cotton. Both have said they're focused on their jobs in Washington.
Several Republicans are considering running for governor with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe barred by term limits from running again. The potential candidates include former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who said he'll likely announce a decision in January. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, is the only announced gubernatorial candidate so far.
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