Davis gets reform committee chair; could fold in IT subcommittee

House leaders last night named Tom Davis the new chairman of the Government Reform Committee, the position he has coveted since Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) had reached the six-year limit as chairman. And Hill sources said the Virginia Republican, who has been the chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on IT and Procurement Policy since 2000, is considering folding the subcommittee into the full committee so Davis can retain control of key procurement and technology issues.

'Given Davis' interest in procurement and IT issues, it is a good bet that even if a new subcommittee chairman is named to cover those issues, Davis will retain some degree of ownership of them,' said the source, who requested anonymity. 'There is even a chance the issues will be folded into the full committee.'

Davis spokesman David Marin would not confirm that this is being considered.

'Subcommittee decisions have not yet been made,' he said. 'Within the next couple of weeks, we hope to make decisions on jurisdictions and chairmanships.'

Davis, a former vice president and general counsel for PRC Inc., has been one of the most active lawmakers in both areas. He sponsored the E-Government Act of 2002, which President Bush signed last month, and the Services Acquisition Reform Act, parts of which made it into the Homeland Security Act of 2002. He also has been active in several other areas such as work force training, OMB Circular A-76 and IT security.

'I want to continue to exercise the type of oversight that results in enhanced efficiency of government programs,' he said in a statement. 'We need to tear down the stovepipe structures that have characterized government technology systems, to improve cross-agency communication and lower costs. We need to closely monitor large-dollar federal contracts to make sure we're getting what we want, how we want it and maximizing the taxpayers' dollar.'

Davis beat out Reps. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) for the position. House leaders chose Cox to lead the Homeland Security Committee, and Shays accepted Davis' invitation to become the vice chairman of the Government Reform Committee. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) remains the ranking member of the committee.

Davis also will be a part of the Homeland Security Committee but does not hold a formal leadership role.

'I plan to build on the legacy of reform legislation I passed out of this committee as a subcommittee chairman,' he said. 'The challenges and opportunities facing this committee are significant.'

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