Incoming House chairman proposes restructuring of oversight panel

The next leader of the House Government Reform Committee plans to streamline the panel in the 110th Congress, reducing its subcommittees from seven to five.

In a letter to panel members Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., outlined his thoughts on the committee's organizational structure, stating that he wants the subcommittees to have a broad appeal that "will engage the attention of subcommittee members."

The Government Reform Committee, which has oversight authority over anything related to the federal government, is expected to play a key role in investigating the Bush administration when Democrats take control of Congress.

The proposal, which Waxman said was discussed with outgoing Chairman Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., would completely eliminate the subcommittees for regulatory affairs and for energy and resources. Waxman also suggested removing "Emerging Threats" from the title of the existing National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations subcommittee.

A new subcommittee would be created, called Information Policy, Census and National Archives.

Oversight of the National Drug Control Policy Office would become the responsibility of a new Domestic Policy subcommittee. The Federal Workforce and Agency Organization subcommittee would lose "agency organization," but expand to include oversight of the Post Office, the District of Columbia and the pronouncement of holidays and celebrations.

The Government Management, Finance and Accountability subcommittee would be changed to the Government Management, Organization and Procurement, and would have jurisdiction over property and intergovernmental relations.

The following is a list of the new subcommittees:

  • National Security and International Relations
  • Domestic Policy, the jurisdiction of which would include the Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Federal Workforce, Post Office and the District of Columbia, the jurisdiction of which would include pronouncement of holidays and celebrations
  • Government Management, Organization and Procurement, the jurisdiction of which would include property and intergovernmental relations
  • Information Policy, Census and National Archives

The current subcommittees are as follows:

  • National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations
  • Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
  • Federal Workforce and Agency Organization
  • Government Management, Finance and Accountability
  • Energy and Resources
  • Federalism and the Census
  • Regulatory Affairs

In related news, outgoing House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., was elected by his colleagues in the Republican Conference Thursday to serve as ranking member in the 110th Congress.

"I said when I became chairman that my agenda boiled down to national security and national competitiveness," Davis said in a statement. "Even in the minority, I'm optimistic about building on our record of reform, serious oversight and good government. I will continue to work for a 21st-century government that can meet 21st-century challenges and fight 21st-century enemies."

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