Rep. Horn must give up his IT subcommittee chairmanship

Rep. Horn must give up his IT subcommittee chairmanship

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

A House leadership term limit will push Congress' leading information technology overseer, Rep. Steve Horn, from his perch as chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology.

In addition to the California Republican, most full committee chairmen will lose their current leadership posts in the 107th Congress because of the six-year term limits House Republicans imposed in 1995.

The Government Reform Committee's chairman, Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, however, is one of the few leaders not affected by the GOP shuffle. Burton, whose committee has the most direct House oversight of federal IT management and procurement policies, has been in his post since 1997.

Although the elections left the power balance in Congress slightly favoring the Republicans, the effect on IT will likely be minimal, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said this month at an Industry Advisory Council meeting.

'The House is pretty bipartisan on most IT issues,' he said.

Technical matters

Although Senate committees that deal with IT issues will remain virtually unchanged, Republican House members soon will be trading seats like baseball cards.

Burton may be keeping his position, but other GOP leaders of committees with high-tech issues on their agendas won't.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Floyd Spence of South Carolina will vacate his seat, as will Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, chairman of the Science Committee. And, Rep. Bob Stump of Arizona must leave his top spot on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

There will be a complete changing of the guard at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rep. Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania will step down as chairman, and all six subcommittees will get new leaders.

Davis said that with neither party maintaining a strong majority in the House or the Senate, lawmakers will have to work hard to find middle ground and avoid gridlock.

In the Senate, Republicans won 15 seats and Democrats won 18. As of late last week that gave the GOP a one-seat edge in the Senate, with the Washington state race between Republican incumbent Rep. Slade Gorton and Democrat Maria Cantwell still too close to call.

In the House, Republicans held 220 seats, Democrats 211 and independents two seats, with a seat each in New Jersey and Florida undeclared more than a week after the election.

Depending on the outcome of the presidential and Washington races, Republicans will control the Senate by 51-49 or face a 50-50 split that would leave the tie-breaking vote in the hands of the next vice president.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), who has promoted electronic-government initiatives, will be a factor either way.

Lieberman will either join fellow Democrats in the divided Senate or leave his party one shy of a stalemate if he becomes vice president.

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