WASHINGTON: Facing political headwinds, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen announced Monday that he will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of his term. He joins a lengthy list of GOP veterans — and powerful committee chairs — leaving Capitol Hill at year’s end.

The New Jersey Republican was facing his first competitive re-election race in decades. He is the eighth committee chair to head for the exits, though unlike many of the others, Frelinghuysen is new in his chairmanship and retained years of eligibility under GOP term limit rules for committee helms.

Frelinghuysen said in a statement he was proud of his efforts to work in a bipartisan manner to advance the annual spending bills that make up almost one-third of the federal budget. He became chairman of the Appropriations Committee last year after serving for several years as chairman of its defense subcommittee.

Frelinghuysen’s year in charge of the panel, however, has been frustrating. Though he helped successfully negotiate a catchall spending bill last spring, the appropriations process for the ongoing budget year has been hamstrung by delays in the Senate and faces the very real danger of running aground completely amid an unrelated monthslong battle over immigration.

“Serving as chairman of the Appropriations Committee is a difficult and sometimes thankless job,” said Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the panel’s top Democrat.

No longer does the prestigious post come with perks such as the capacity to direct tens or even hundreds of millions to one’s district or state for “earmarked” pet projects.

A moderate Republican in both his politics and temperament, Frelinghuysen was first elected in the 1994 GOP wave that put Republicans in control of both chambers. He hails from a New Jersey political dynasty that dates to the late 1700s. His father, Peter Frelinghuysen, served in the House for two decades.

Unlike several other GOP chairmen to announce their retirements after running up against GOP term limit rules for panel heads, Frelinghuysen had years to go as Appropriations chair — assuming Republicans retain control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. But he angered some conservative lawmakers over votes against the GOP tax overhaul measure last year and his opposition to an initial version of the party’s effort to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Probably the leading Democrat for Frelinghuysen’s seat is former federal prosecutor and former Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill. She has the backing of local party leaders.