MIAMI (Reuters) - Representative Bill Young of Florida, the longest-serving Republican member of Congress, will retire when his term ends in 2014, the congressman's office confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday.
Young, 82, who represents a Florida west coast district including the cities of Clearwater and part of St. Petersburg, told the Tampa Bay Times that he was retiring for health reasons and wanted to spend more time with his family.
Young said he was also "a little disappointed" over the current political deadlock in Congress.
A former chairman of the powerful U. S. House Appropriations Committee who now chairs the Defense subcommittee, Young is recuperating from a back injury at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Young opposed the Republican leadership last week and said he would vote for a budget resolution that included funding for the Obama administration's controversial health care reform law.
His retirement opens up a safe Republican seat in Congress for what could be a tight race in a district that is favorable to Democrats, and was won by President Barack Obama in the presidential vote 2008 and 2012.
"I thank Bill Young for all of his years of dedicated public service," said Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat. "He was always someone who approached solutions in a bipartisan way. He will be missed."
(Reporting by David Adams; Editing by James Dalgleish)