Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The Changes in House Committee Leadership

Beyond the probable leadership changes in the House, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland, Committee on Appropriations Chair David Obey, Wisconsin, Committee on Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel, New York, Committee on the Budget Chair John Spratt, South Carolina, Committee on Rules Chair Louise Slaughter, New York, and Committee on Government Reform Chair Henry Waxman, California, there will be key changes in committees affecting energy, environment and resources.

As analyzed by AP:

Committee on Energy and Commerce: John Dingell, Michigan.
Mr. Dingell, 80, the longest-serving member of the House, has had a hand in major legislation for half a century. A moderate who has sided with Republicans on issues such as gun control and so-called partial-birth abortion, Mr. Dingell has never been known to avoid a fight since being elected in 1955. When chairing the Energy and Commerce Committee from 1981 through 1994, he was a tough government watchdog, a reputation he's maintained throughout President Bush's tenure.

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: James Oberstar, Minnesota.
Mr. Oberstar, the 72-year-old dean of Minnesota's congressional delegation, has made his mark primarily through transportation policy. He supports increased transportation spending, even if it requires higher gasoline taxes. He has said that as committee chairman he would focus on getting more funding for Amtrak and on developing high-speed rail lines between Midwest cities. The seventh most senior Democrat in the House, Mr. Oberstar differs from his party on many social issues.

Committee on Resources: Nick Rahall, West Virginia         Mr. Rahall, 57, represents southern West Virginia and pushed for greater mine safety after 14 workers were killed during the 2006 Sago mine disaster. He's pro-labor but culturally conservative, opposing abortion and gay marriage, and his support for mining means he doesn't always vote with Democrats on environmental issues. One of five lawmakers of Arab descent, Mr. Rahall has been consistently critical of the Bush administration's Middle East policy.

Committee on Science: Bart Gordon, Tennessee.
Mr. Gordon, 57, frequently agrees with President Bush. He's conservative on taxes, abortion, gay marriage and guns. But he sometimes opposes Mr. Bush's scientific proposals, and he's asked for more openness from NASA after accusations that a public affairs officer filtered information about global warming and the Big Bang.

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