Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the Baltimore County Democrat who represents two of Maryland's largest military installations, is stepping down from the House Armed Services Committee effective immediately, his office confirmed Tuesday.
Ruppersberger, who was named to the committee last year, is making way for Rep. Ron Barber, an Arizona Democrat sworn in last week to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords resigned in January to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound last year.
Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, which are among Maryland's largest employers, are located in Ruppersberger's district. Ruppersberger will remain the top-ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which also has considerable sway over the two installations.
The two are still priorities for the congressman "regardless of his committee assignments," spokeswoman Jaime Lennon said.
The intelligence committee has been Ruppersberger's main focus in recent months. His position on the committee has frequently put him in the national spotlight. He received attention most recently for a bipartisan bill intended to shore up the nation's cybersecurity.
Ruppersberger is technically taking a leave of absence from the committee, which has oversight of the military. The leave allows him to maintain his seniority should he decide to return after the November election.
Barber, a former aide to Giffords, represents an Air Force base in Tucson and an Army installation in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
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