Rep. McDermott to retire

Fourteen-term Washington Democrat Jim McDermottJim McDermottLobbying World Dem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' Dem to Trump on House floor: ‘Stop tweeting’ MORE won’t seek reelection this year, a Democratic source confirmed.

McDermott, 79, is the 17th House member who will retire at the end of this Congress.

His Seattle-area district is expected to remain in Democratic control in the 2016 elections. President Obama won more than 80 percent of the vote in Washington's 7th Congressional District in the 2012 presidential election.

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"The support and the trust symbolized by voters' judgments is the highest honor they could have bestowed upon me. I retire from the House forever humbled and grateful to my constituents, for their unwavering embrace,” McDermott said at a news conference in Seattle on Monday.

In a statement, President Obama called McDermott "a much-needed voice for his most vulnerable constituents."

"Across America, you'll find families that are better off because Jim McDermott was fighting for them," Obama said.

McDermott’s departure will open up a coveted slot on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, where he serves as the ranking Democrat on the Health subcommittee. He also serves on the House Budget Committee.

He drew national attention for a years-long legal dispute with former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) over an illegally recorded phone call. A Florida couple used a scanner to find a 1996 conference call between Boehner, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and other House leaders discussing strategy for announcing an ethics committee's conclusion regarding Gingrich. The couple gave the recording to McDermott, who was serving on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and subsequently leaked the recording to the media.

McDermott was ultimately ordered to pay Boehner more than $1 million in damages after a judge ruled that the phone call was recorded illegally.

Democratic state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw has already declared his candidacy but now won't have to face an incumbent in the primary.

—Last updated at 4:23 p.m.; Scott Wong contributed.