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Congress committees to get new chairmen

posted on November 5, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican takeover of the House means a complete turnover in committee chairmen, with the new, and sometimes returning, GOP chairmen coming in armed with the promise from their leaders that they will no longer be an afterthought.

Just who winds up where won't be made official until the new Congress takes office in January. But jockeying for key positions will be going on when the current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a lame-duck session.

Ohio Rep. John Boehner, positioned to succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi as speaker, has pledged that committee chairmen will regain the authority they have lost in past decades.

Rep. Greg Walden, who is heading the House GOP transition team, said Boehner would end the practice of bills being written in the speaker's office behind closed doors and move bill-writing authority back to committees.

There are also two committee chairmanship openings in the Senate, which stayed under Democratic control. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has expressed interest in heading the Agriculture Committee after Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln was defeated Tuesday. North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and senior to Stabenow on agriculture, may be in the running as well.

Next in line to take over the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, vacated by retiring Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, is Tim Johnson, a three-term conservative Democrat from South Dakota. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island has also been mentioned, perhaps as a top Johnson lieutenant or in a role where he would share leadership duties with Johnson.

Tags: Congress government news