Key House panels could see changes

After the 106th Congress is sworn in today and Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is formally elected speaker, the first order of legislative business will be consideration of several rules changes which could modify key committes with oversight over federal operations.

One proposed change would allow the House Government Reform Committee to retain its Census Subcommittee, which was created last year and chaired by Hastert. The panel-which saw some of last year's fiercest partisan battles over how the next census will be conducted, and therefore how House districts will be redrawn in 2000-was slated to come under the jurisdiction of the House Oversight Committee.

The rules changes also would rename the Oversight Committee and the Government Reform and Oversight Committee-which people have often confused-as the House Administration Committee and the Government Reform Committee, respectively. The Oversight panel will therefore revert to the name used prior to the GOP takeover of the House in 1995.

The rules also propose reverting the National Security Committee to its pre-104th Congress name, the Armed Services Committee-a change requested primarily because the panel's acronym, NSC, has been confused with the acronym for the White House's National Security Council.

The proposed rules also would extend the life of the select committee established last year to investigate technology transfers to China "for the purpose of completing the declassification and public release" of the panel's final report.

Another provision, prompted by the 105th Congress' failure to pass a budget resolution, would authorize the Budget Committee to publish fiscal 1999 spending allocation numbers in the Congressional Record that "shall be effective in the House as though established by passage of a concurrent budget resolution for fiscal 1999."

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