Tough New Federal Committee Chairs

The BNA Daily Report for Executives published two stories today on possible new chairmen for the House and Senate committees overseeing federal government affairs. The news is not good for federal employees, who can expect even greater oversight and scrutiny in the years ahead.

BNA reports that Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is likely to take over as chairmen of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Senator Thompson is also slated to head the subcommittee on Financial Management and Accountability. Paul Clark, a spokesperson for the Senator, stated that the Senator believes in more oversight of the executive branch and that "he should take a close look at all federal programs to see which ones work and which ones don't."

Senator Thompson has been an opponent of Vice President Gore and the National Performance Review in the past -- a situation that may prove difficult for the Vice President as both men pursue their seperate visions of government reinvention. The Senator is also viewed as a contender for the next Republication presidential nomination, furthering speculation that the two are likely to clash in the four years ahead.

On the House side, Representative Dan Burton (R-Pa.) is expected to take over the lead of the House Government Reform Committee. The current speculation is that Representative Burton will be aggressive in the position, especially in the areas of oversight and looking into possible scandals at the White House. One Republican aide on the committee interviewed by BNA thought that the EPA and OSHA would receive especially strong supervision of their regulatory activities from the National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee.

The final disposition of the committee, however, is still in question. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) may become the ranking member. If so, he would be likely to try and stop aggressive investigations of the administration. Also unclear is what will happen to the membership of the committee given that four freshman republicans lost their re-election bids to Democrats.

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