WASHINGTON U.S. representative George Miller, a liberal Democrat and close political ally of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, will step down at the end of his term this year after nearly four decades in Congress, his office announced on Monday.
Miller, a Californian, has been in the House of Representatives since 1975, when a large number of Democrats swept into office after the Watergate scandal.
He has helped draft important laws affecting education, labor, health and the environment, such as the "No Child Left Behind Act" proposed by former President George W. Bush, a Republican.
The act requires public schools to administer standardized tests annually and sets up a process for improving poorly performing schools. Miller co-wrote it with Representative John Boehner, a Republican who is now speaker of the House, and the late Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat.
"I look forward to one last year in Congress fighting the good fight and then working in new venues on the issues that have inspired me," Miller said in the statement from his office.
Miller, 68, currently serves as the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the fifth most senior member of the House of Representatives.
Pelosi, a former House Speaker, said she was sad her confidante was leaving. "For me, as Speaker and Democratic Leader, George's patriotism, wisdom and guidance have been especially valued, and he has been a close friend since my first days in the House," she said in a statement.
The Rothenberg Political Report lists Miller's seat as "currently safe Democrat" heading into the 2014 mid-term congressional elections.
(Reporting By Susan Cornwell; Editing by Nick Zieminski)