GOP, Dems fill slots on House homeland security panel

House Republicans and Democrats Wednesday filled out the 50-member House Select Homeland Security Committee, with Republicans choosing major committee chairmen while Democrats chose a more inclusive roster.

Select Homeland Security Committee Chairman Christopher Cox, R-Calif., said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., opted for an "all-star team" led by chairmen who already have a hand in homeland security issues. But Minority Leader Pelosi chose few of the Democrats' corresponding ranking members. Homeland Security ranking member Jim Turner, D-Texas, described his fellow Democratic members as a "distinguished cross section of our Caucus."

Democrats joining the committee were asked to relinquish one of their current committee seats, if they already sat on two committees.

The panel's first order of business will be a technical corrections bill, which Cox vowed would "not be controversial." Before the August recess, Cox plans to have a bill on the floor to revise the Homeland Security Act, which last year created the Homeland Security Department. He has asked committee chairmen to submit their suggestions by the end of the month and plans to hold hearings next month to begin assembling the bill.

"We may go in with an X-Acto knife," Cox said.

As the committee gets up and running, Cox plans to ask for temporary funding to hire staff and tide the committee over until the House doles out committee budgets next month. Committee members will have access to classified material and will have to make arrangements to secure sensitive information.

On the Senate side, Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is looking to rejigger Appropriations subcommittees once the fiscal 2003 budget is out of his hands. Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, plans to fold homeland security issues into her jurisdiction. "We'll see how that shakes out," said Cox.

Republicans named to the House panel were Appropriations Chairman Bill Young of Florida, Rules Chairman David Dreier of California, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young of Alaska, Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter of California, Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana and Reps. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, Dave Camp of Michigan, Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, Harold Rogers of Kentucky, Jennifer Dunn of Washington, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, John Linder of Georgia, John Shadegg of Arizona, John Sweeney of New York, Kay Granger of Texas, Lamar Smith of Texas, Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida, Mac Thornberry of Texas, Mark Souder of Indiana, Pete Sessions of Texas, Peter King of New York and Porter Goss of Florida.

Democrats named to the committee were Reps. Robert Andrews of New Jersey, Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Norman Dicks of Washington, Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Charles Gonzalez of Texas, Jane Harman of California, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, James Langevin of Rhode Island, Zoe Lofgren of California, Nita Lowey of New York, Ken Lucas of Kentucky, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Karen McCarthy of Missouri, Kendrick Meek of Florida, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, Loretta Sanchez of California, Louise Slaughter of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, and Dels. Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands and Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia.