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Key 'Obamacare' Architect Calls it Quits: Max Baucus Won't Seek Re-election in 2014


"I just see a huge train wreck coming down."

Montana Senator Max Baucus. (Getty Images)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act (i.e. "Obamacare), won’t seek re-election in 2014, according to two Democrat sources familiar with the senator’s decision.

This brings to an end his 36-year run in the U.S. Senate.

The Democrat senator made headlines last week when he voted against the supposedly bipartisan Toomey-Manchin expanded background check amendment. He also caused a stir during a hearing last Wednesday when he referred to “Obamacare,” a bill he helped pass, as a “train wreck.”

"I just see a huge train wreck coming down," he said, referring to the large number of people who do not understand how the health care law will work.

"You and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet," he added during the hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Sen. Baucus and Sebelius discussed ways in which the public could be educated on the many details of the new law. "I'm very concerned that not enough is being done so far — very concerned."

Here's the senator's full statement on his decision to not seek re-election:

“Serving the people of Montana has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. Over the past 35 years I have been lucky to go from working for just under 800,000 of the world’s best bosses to more than a million – and I am grateful to each and every one of them for the opportunity they have given me.

“When I first asked my hero and mentor Mike Mansfield whether I should run for U.S. Senate, he told me it would take a lot of hard work, a lot of shoe leather, and a bit of luck. In the next year and a half, I want to spend all my hard work, shoe leather and luck working for the people of Montana instead of on campaigning.

“So, after much consideration and many conversations with my wife Mel and our family, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2014. I will serve out my term, and then it will be time to go home to Montana.

“But, I’m not turning out to pasture because there is important work left to do, and I intend to spend the year and a half getting it done. Our country and our state face enormous challenges – rising debt, a dysfunctional tax code, threats to our outdoor heritage, and the need for more good-paying jobs.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I will double down on legislation to permanently protect the American side of the North Fork watershed and keep the Rocky Mountain Front the way it is for future generations. I am going to put everything I’ve got into leaving Montana with strong Highway and Farm Bills that support jobs in our state. And I’m going full steam ahead to put on the best Economic Development Summit yet.

“At a national level, I will continue to work on simplifying and improving the tax code, tackling the nation’s debt, pushing important job-creating trade agreements through the Senate, and implementing and expanding affordable health care for more Americans.

“Deciding not to run for re-election was an extremely difficult decision. After thinking long and hard, I decided I want to focus the next two years on serving Montana unconstrained by the demands of a campaign. Then, I want to come home and spend time with Mel, my son Zeno, and our family enjoying the Montana public lands we’ve fought hard to keep open and untarnished.

“Above all else, I want Montanans to know how grateful and humbled I am to have had the privilege of serving them, and I look forward to working with them as I continue to serve the state I love for the next year and a half.”

"Obamacare" takes full effect in 2014 -- just in time for the Baucus' retirement.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.

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