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Buck McKeon, California GOP Rep, To Retire

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BUCK MCKEON
UNITED STATES - JULY 31: House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., speaks a military veteran crowd at John Lyon VFW Post 3150 in Arlington, Va., during a campaign event for Mitt Romney on the 'devastating effects President Obama's defense cuts will have on Virginia's economy and employment in the state.' (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call) | Chris Maddaloni via Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has decided to retire after 11 terms.

Republican officials said the 75-year-old McKeon will announce his plans on Thursday. The California Republican has represented a district north of Los Angeles that includes several major defense contractors.

McKeon campaigned for Republican candidates in 2010 and thanks to the GOP tidal wave took over the chairmanship of the committee. He has fought to protect Pentagon spending in a struggle with deficit hawks in Congress, including many in his party.

The Republican officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss McKeon's plans ahead of his official announcement.

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