Congressional Republicans will continue to pursue elimination of the Departments of Commerce and Energy in the 105th Congress, though their efforts will be more tempered than they were in the 104th, The Washington Times reported yesterday.
Republicans have realized that their zealous push to shut down Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development failed during the last Congress in part because their plans were so radical.
"We can sit in Washington and see the wasteful bureaucracy, but when you are talking about eliminating an entire agency, you've got to explain it," Michele Davis, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Dick Armey, told the paper.
While Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., has already introduced a bill this session to eliminate Energy altogether, most Republicans say they will try to cut appropriations to Energy and Commerce and remove functions program by program, bit by bit, until shutting the agencies down is a less daunting proposition.
While Commerce and Energy remain high on the GOP's hit list, largely because both carry the taint of recent scandal, Education and HUD are no longer in most Republicans' sights. The latter departments run popular programs, such as student financial aid and Head Start at Education and housing programs for the poor at HUD.