House Appropriations Chairman Robert Livingston, R-La., today said House Republicans will continue to slash spending, but must work more closely with President Clinton next year.
"We're not backing down one iota from the goals of the 'Contract with America,'" Livingston told reporters, saying GOP leaders still will concentrate on decreasing the size of the federal government. However, referring to the lengthy spending battles of the past two years, Livingston said GOP leaders had made a mistake by attempting to accomplish their goals without taking the president into account.
Next year, "we expect to work with him, not against him," Livingston said. Nevertheless, he added he still believes the Energy and Education departments should be eliminated -- positions vehemently opposed by the administration.
Livingston said his panel may have to consider an early Defense supplemental appropriations bill to help pay for various overseas missions begun by the Clinton administration. He said that bill could also include rescissions.
However, he said that with the renewed power of committee chairmen, authorizing panels will take the lead on legislative issues next year. During the past two years, Republicans tried to deal with a variety of legislative issues in appropriations measures.
Livingston's comments came as GOP leaders ratified their plan to keep him as chairman, and to make Rep. Joseph McDade, R-Pa., the panel's vice chairman as well as chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and vice chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. McDade said he was disappointed with the decision not to make him full committee chairman, saying he deserved the position because of his seniority.
Livingston also released the list of 13 subcommittee chairmen. While most cardinals retain their posts, there are several changes.
Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., will chair the Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee, taking over from departing Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot, R-Iowa. Rep. James Walsh, R-N.Y., will chair the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, taking over from Rep. Ron Packard, R-Calif., who will take over the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee from retiring Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev. Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., will chair the D.C. Appropriations Subcommittee, taking over from Walsh.