WASHINGTON - Rep. J.J. Pickle's upcoming departure from Con- gress leaves open a leadership post on the House Ways and Mean Committee that bond proponents hope may be filled by a strong supporter of public finance, lobbyists said this week.

The 80-year-old Texas Democrat, third in seniority on the Ways and Means panel, announced last month that he will not seek re-election in 1994. During his 15 terms in Congress, Pickle became well known as a strong advocate for curbing tax-exempt bonds, especially during the development of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

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