Pete Domenici, former New Mexico senator, is dead at 85

FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2011, file photo Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Co-Chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left, listens as former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., right, makes a point just before testifying before the panel on Capitol Hill in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 Pete Domenici, a former Republican senator from New Mexico who became a power broker in the Senate for his work on the federal budget and energy policy, has died. Domenici was 85.

The law firm of Pete Domenici Jr., the senator's son, confirms that the former lawmaker died Wednesday morning in Albuquerque but did not provide any details. 

Late Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Domenici's death on the Senate floor.

Domenici declined to seek a seventh Senate term in 2008, saying he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder. He was in the Senate for more than 35 years, becoming New Mexico's longest serving senator.

The Albuquerque-born son of Italian immigrants carried a consistent message of fiscal restraint from his first term in 1972 until leaving office in early 2009.

He even refused once to buckle to President Reagan, who wanted him to delay the budget process.