Stevens: I Want More Oversight

Faced with a shrinking slice of the budget pie, new Senate Appropriations Chairman Stevens today said he will try to institute more oversight of discretionary funds.

"We must pay more attention to how money is spent," he said during a committee organization meeting. Appropriations ranking member Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., indicated he will support Stevens' effort.

Stevens singled out increased field hearings as a good way to keep an eye on the funds, but said the panel may not have enough money to pay for all the field hearings he wants to hold. Stevens said he will raise those concerns with the Rules Committee next week.

Both Stevens and Byrd said they want to pay more attention to infrastructure problems, like bridges and dams. Stevens added he is concerned with agencies such as the FDA bottling up potential research breakthroughs.

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