"It's a wake-up call for the people on my side of the aisle, as we fight against what we think are short-sighted and destructive policies, we need to do so in a way that is fair," he added.

LaTourette said he will not run again because he is frustrated with partisan politics in Congress, and disappointed that Congress cannot find the time for "good policy." The Democrat has clashed with GOP leaders in the last 18 months over tax and spending policy — for example, he has called for across-the-board spending cuts to all programs equally, as opposed to the Republican plan of focusing on cuts to programs that Democrats tend to favor.

Blumenauer said he respected LaTourette's positions even though they often disagreed, but said he particularly agreed with his call for reducing the deficit in a way that includes new revenues, which Democrats have also called for.

"He's willing to call for increases in fees and taxes for infrastructure at the same time he pushes for responsible budget cutting and right-sizing government in a way that's going to pinch almost everyone," Blumenauer said. "His approach is courageous and consistent, and ultimately we will follow that balanced path."

Blumenauer also praised LaTourette for keeping a low profile in a Congress where members often gain notoriety for acting "outrageous and stark."

"Steve, despite two decades of solid, distinguished service, his wit, good humor and effectiveness ... may be characterized as an obscure member of Congress," Blumenauer said. "Yet, I would argue, Steve LaTourette should be on the radar screen of every American.

"His is a powerful message of an institution that needs serious readjustment," he added. "If this leads to people reconsidering how we do business, how the American public assesses who they reward or punish, then our loss due to his retirement may be the most important contribution in his distinguished career."