House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp will not seek a 13th term in office

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Representative Dave Camp, the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, who tried to initiate debate this year on the thorny issue of overhauling the U.S. tax code, said on Monday he would not seek re-election in November.

"This decision was reached after much consideration and discussion with my family," the 12-term Michigan Republican said in a statement issued by the committee.

Camp said that during his final nine months in Congress, he would push for reform on a number of fronts.

"I will redouble my efforts to grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American by fixing our broken tax code, permanently solving physician payments for seniors, strengthening the social safety net and finding new markets for U.S. goods and services," the 60-year-old lawmaker said.

Camp was the second Republican House committee chairman in as many weeks to announce he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in January, following Mike Rogers, also of Michigan, who heads the House Intelligence Committee.

In February, Camp floated a draft plan for rewriting the U.S. tax code for the first time since 1986.

Even before he made the plan public, many of his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives expressed doubt it could become law.

Under Camp's proposal, the number of categories for U.S. income rates would be reduced to three from seven. He also called for eliminating a wide range of tax breaks.

Critics said his proposal would help the rich at the expense of the poor. Camp disagreed and argued his plan would unleash stronger economic growth that would benefit all Americans.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Peter Cooney)

[Image: U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) questions outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller during a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service on Capitol Hill in Washington in this May 17, 2013 file photo. By Jason Reed for Reuters.]