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Sweet 16

Bringing an end to nagging retirement rumors, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) announced last week that he will seek a 16th term in the House next year. [IMGCAP(1)]

The 79-year-old lawmaker has experienced health problems in recent years, and in 2000 he considered not running for re-election. The Illinois Republican won a 15th term in 2002 with 65 percent of the vote.

With his tenure as chairman of the International Relations Committee ending at the conclusion of 2006, Hyde said in a statement released by the National Republican Congressional Committee that he plans to stay put at least until the end of the 109th Congress.

“Under present House rules, I am eligible for another term as House International Relations Committee Chairman,” said Hyde, who will turn 80 in April 2004. “I intend to fulfill my commitment to this important committee, thus helping to strengthen our nation’s foreign policy in these perilous times.”

Hyde, who chaired the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton, has represented the suburban Chicago 6th district since 1974.

He is the second oldest Member of the House and fifth in seniority among Republicans. He the second most senior member of the Illinois delegation, with only Rep. Phil Crane (R) having served longer.

“I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of the Sixth Congressional District of Illinois,” Hyde said.

Bomb Scare. An apparent misunderstanding led Capitol Police to conduct a bomb search along Southwest Drive on Friday morning.

“Someone misunderstood another person and thought they said they had a bomb,” said Capitol Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel.

The law enforcement agency activated its Hazardous Device Section after receiving a report that an individual on the House side of the Capitol grounds claimed to have an explosive device.

The suspect was stopped by police officers at 9:30 a.m. on Southwest Drive and interviewed while the agency swept the area for a bomb.

“We took every precaution necessary,” said Gissubel, who added that the line for Capitol tours was temporarily rerouted during the search, though tours were not halted.

Police reopened the area about 25 minutes later, and the suspect was not taken into custody.

— Lauren W. Whittington and Jennifer Yachnin

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