Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) plans to announce that he will retire rather than seek reelection in 2014, according to Democratic strategists familiar with his plans, ending one of the most influential congressional careers of his generation.

Baucus, 71, first elected in 1978,has been the top Democrat on the powerful committee since 2001. At times infuriating his Democratic colleagues, Baucus worked with Republicans to co-write the Bush-era tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug plan, but he also served as the lead defender against George W. Bush’s 2005 effort to partially privatize Social Security and played a critical role in writing President Obama’s national health-care plan.