Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on Monday he will resign on April 1st. The 80-year-old Cochran stayed home for a month last fall with urinary tract infections, returning to Washington in October to give Republicans the majority they needed to pass a budget plan. Cochran said in a statement, “I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge. I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate.” Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving six years in the House. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement, and a special election will be held to fill the rest of the term through January 2021.