source: National Journal's Congress Daily - Friday, Nov. 17, 2000
HOUSE LEADERSHIP - THE HOUSE COMMITTEE SHUFFLE
Thanks to term limits adopted by the House Republican Conference - and reconfirmed by the Conference just this past week - there will be quite a shuffle among committee chairmen in the 107th Congress. Below is a rundown of the committees facing changes at the top. Several key committees are above the fray, as their chairmen have yet to hit the term limits ceiling. They are: Agriculture Chairman Combest, Appropriations Chairman Young, Government Reform Chairman Burton and Rules Chairman Dreier.
Armed Services. Three candidates are battling to succeed Chairman Spence. Rep. Bob Stump of Arizona, who currently is the chairman of the Veterans Affairs panel, is the most senior of the three. But Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, has engaged in a prolific fundraising campaign to aid colleagues in the elections, and has been distributing a glossy pamphlet touting his accomplishments. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, had been interested, but today endorsed Stump for the chairmanship. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., will remain ranking member.
Banking. Reps. Marge Roukema of New Jersey and Richard Baker of Louisiana have already announced their intention to seek to replace Chairman Leach. Baker, however, has indicated he would bow out of the contest - providing he can head a new "super" Banking subcommittee, which would take some of the Commerce Committee's jurisdiction. The rest of Baker's plan requires Rep. Michael Oxley of Ohio, who is locked in a tough battle with Rep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin of Louisiana for the Commerce Committee chairmanship, to take over as Banking chairman. There are several catches to that plan, not the least of which is Oxley's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. Moreover, Tauzin, who is a strong contender for the Commerce panel chairmanship, already has raised objections to the notion of splitting up the panel's jurisdiction. And Roukema, who is senior to Baker on the Banking Committee and stands to be the first woman in the GOP to lead a full committee, does not plan to give up her claim to the gavel quietly. Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., will remain ranking member.
Budget. Four members are battling it out to replace Chairman Kasich, who is leaving Congress after heading the committee since Republicans took the House majority in 1994. Until recently, the race to succeed Kasich was a two-man contest between senior Budget member Jim Nussle of Iowa, who also serves as one of the panel's three designees on the Ways and Means Committee, and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss of Georgia - who joined the committee at the start of the 106th Congress as the leadership's point man. Latecomers to the chairmanship race are two-term Budget member John Sununu of New Hampshire, one of the panel's designees on the Appropriations Committee, and long-time Budget member Nick Smith of Michigan, who would need a waiver from the House rule limiting members to three consecutive terms on the committee in order to serve as chairman. Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., is expected to remain ranking member.
Commerce. After a yearlong battle, Reps. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin of Louisiana and Michael Oxley of Ohio are no closer to settling one of the most bitter chairmanship fights of the year. Tauzin, now chairman of the Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, enjoys a slim seniority advantage over Oxley, who heads the Finance and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. However, Tauzin spent the early years of his career as a Democrat before switching parties in 1995 after the GOP took control of the House - a fact Oxley has exploited. Insiders believe Tauzin has the inside track to the post, but the fight is far from over. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., will remain ranking member Education and the Workforce. While Rep. Thomas Petri of Wisconsin has seniority, this chairmanship could be hotly contested as Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan and possibly Rep. John Boehner of Ohio are expressing interest. Hoekstra has been active on education issues, including an investigation of improper fund diversion from the Education Department, while Boehner has held several hearings and introduced bills on pension and labor reforms. The likely ranking member is Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who will replace the retiring Rep. William Clay, D-Mo.
House Administration. If Chairman Thomas wins the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship, Rep. Robert Ney of Ohio may move into the chairmanship. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio ranks next in seniority but has his eye on becoming chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will remain ranking member.
International Relations. With Chairman Gilman term limited, current Banking Chairman Leach has expressed interest in taking over the gavel. Leach, who is next in line in terms of seniority on the panel, has served as a foreign service officer, studied Soviet politics in graduate school, served as an assistant on arms control and disarmament issues and as assistant to former President Bush when Bush was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Another International Relations member who is a term limits victim, Judiciary Chairman Hyde, also has expressed interest in a new gavel - but has done little to advance his case. Rep. Doug Bereuter of Nebraska is interested in the International Relations chairmanship and plans to make his case to the GOP Steering Committee when Congress returns. Bereuter has been an active member of the panel and parlayed his knowledge of international affairs into playing leading roles in efforts to expand trade. With the Nov. 7 defeat of ranking member Sam Gejdenson, D-Conn., Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., will move into that role.
Judiciary. There is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding who will serve as the next chairman. Chairman Hyde's tenure expires this year, and the party has vowed to abide by its self-imposed term limits. However, as Hyde is a highly revered figure in his party, some legislators are expected to seek a waiver for Hyde to be able to continue to serve in his current capacity. If Hyde does not receive an exemption, Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is next in line to take over the gavel. Ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich., will remain in that position.
Resources. Rep. James Hansen of Utah is expected to assume control of the Resources Committee beginning next year - barring a few improbable events. Hansen, now the third-ranking Republican on the panel, would take over the committee because term-limited Chairman Young plans to become chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Rep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin of Louisiana - the second-ranking Republican - hopes to head the Commerce Committee. However, if Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Shuster succeeds in a long-shot bid to grab an exemption to the term limit rule, Young might try to secure a waiver of his own to remain at Resources. Further, if Tauzin losses his bid for the Commerce Committee gavel, he may be tempted to claim the Resources panel gavel. However, even if Tauzin loses his bid for the Commerce panel, insiders believe Tauzin would forgo the Resources slot in order to continue his reign over the influential Commerce Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection subpanel. Meanwhile, with current ranking member George Miller, D-Calif., expected to move to a similar post at the Education and the Workforce panel, Rep. Edward Markey, D- Mass., plans to announce soon whether he will take over the ranking slot at the Resources panel or remain ranking member of the Commerce Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.
Science. If all goes according to plan, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert of New York will take over the reins here next year. However, an upcoming decision by the GOP leadership could set in motion a chain of events that could prompt current Chairman Sensenbrenner to retain the post for another term. If the leadership grants Judiciary Chairman Hyde a waiver of the GOP's six-year term limit rule, Sensenbrenner - the second ranking Republican on Judiciary - would remain at the Science panel, where he has another two years until he hits the three-term limit. Rep. Ralph Hall, D- Texas, will remain ranking member.
Small Business. Chairman Talent left to make an unsuccessful run for governor, so Reps. Donald Manzullo of Illinois and Sue Kelly of New York will seek to replace him. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D- N.Y., will remain ranking member.
Transportation and Infrastructure. Rep. Don Young of Alaska is the presumptive successor to Chairman Shuster, although Shuster is unlikely to fade into the background - as he will retain the Ground Transportation Subcommittee chairmanship. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., will remain ranking member.
Ways and Means. Another battle royal pits Health Subcommittee Chairman Bill Thomas of California against Trade Subcommittee Chairman Philip Crane of Illinois for the chairmanship, although Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Clay Shaw of Florida is still considering getting into the fray. Rep. Charles Rangel,D-N.Y., will remain ranking member.