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Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The 86-year-old lawmaker is the top Republican on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. He was first elected to the Senate in 1986 as a Democrat, before changing parties in 1994.

  • Throughout his six terms, Shelby chaired a trio of highly influential committees — banking, intelligence and rules — before heading appropriations.

The big picture: Shelby is the fourth Senate Republican to announce his retirement in 2022, following Rob Portman (Ohio), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

  • His retirement could set off an intra-party scramble for a replacement, as Republicans navigate which direction to take the party following the presidency of Donald Trump.
  • Democrats are thought to have little chance in deep-red Alabama, where Tommy Tuberville knocked off incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones by more than 20 points in November.

What he's saying: “Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United States Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season,” Shelby wrote in a statement.

  • “I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years. I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian."
  • “Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all.”

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that Shelby is in his sixth term in the Senate (not his seventh).

Go deeper

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A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

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France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

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France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

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A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."