Bloomberg by the Numbers: 35

Photograph by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, gives thumbs up to reporters n Washington, D.C., in this Nov. 21, 2011 file photo.

Sen. Max Baucus, President Barack Obama’s choice to become ambassador to China, has served in the Senate for more than 35 years.

Baucus, a Montana Democrat who entered the Senate in December 1978, has served there longer than all but 24 senators in the history of the institution, according to data compiled by Political Capital. Among current senators, only Vermont Democrat Pat Leahy and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch have more seniority than Baucus, 72.

Baucus was a House member for four years prior to becoming a senator. That means he’s spent more than half of his life in Congress, one of 15 people in the current 113th Congress with that claim to fame.

Another member of this congressional half-life club is Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden or Oregon, who’s in line to succeed Baucus as chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee. Read Richard Rubin’s story for more about Wyden and what his new role means for congressional efforts to rewrite the tax code.

Baucus, who had already announced plans to eschew a re-election campaign in 2014, “will work on promoting trade and addressing concerns about China’s territorial claims and protection of U.S. companies’ intellectual property,” Rubin reported in a separate story.

Baucus “is going to be an outstanding ambassador to China, and I’d like a swift confirmation,” Obama said at a White House news conference on Dec. 20.

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