Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal said Thursday that he will postpone his resignation from Congress so that he can vote against health care reform.

Deal was originally planning to step down on March 8 so he could focus on his gubernatorial bid, but is pushing that off until March 31.

"Having been deeply involved in all health care legislation for the past decade, I knew it was important to stay and vote down this bill," Deal said in a statement. "Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama's aggressive push for a quick vote on 'Obama-Care,' it was clear that I must stay in Congress and continue to fight against the most liberal health care agenda ever proposed."

Critics earlier had blasted Deal's decision to leave arguing it would make it easier for Democrats to push through a health care overhaul bill.

He has represented the 9th District in north Georgia since 1992.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.