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105th Congress committee assignments

>Excerpted from the Pennsylvania DEP Update, Jan. 10:
There are few changes in the key players and list of priorities for the
105th U.S. Congress, which was sworn in last week in Washington, D.C.
Newt Gingrich was elected to another term as Speaker of the House,
overcoming concerns about possible sanctions from the House Ethics
Committee. Other members of the Republican leadership returning to
office include Trent Lott of Mississippi as Senate Majority Leader and
Dick Armey of Texas as House Majority Leader. For the Democrats, Dick
Gephardt of Missouri returns as House Minority Leader and Tom Daschle of
South Dakota is again Senate Minority Leader.
The Republicans' retention of control in both the House and Senate means
that the chairmanships of key committees with environmental jurisdiction
likewise saw few changes.  Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania is back as
chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, with James
Oberstar of Minnesota the ranking minority member (senior Democrat) on
the committee.  Tom Bliley of Virginia returns as chairman of the
Commerce Committee, with John Dingell of Michigan the ranking minority
In the Senate, both John Chafee of Rhode Island and Max Baucus of
Montana retain their posts as chairman and ranking minority,
respectively, of the Environment and Public Works Committee. The only
changes resulted from the retirement of Congressmen Bill Clinger and Bob
Walker, both of Pennsylvania. Dan Burton of Indiana takes over
chairmanship of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee formerly
held by Clinger, and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin replaces Walker at
the helm of the House Science Committee.
The top two environmental legislative priorities are also veterans
returning from the last Congress. Superfund Reauthorization and Clean
Water Act Reauthorization are at or near the top of everyone's list.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey mentioned those two in his early hints
of what will be on the leadership's agenda for 1997.  Armey also stated
that the Republican leadership would try to achieve "reform at a pace
the President can handle," signaling a change in tactics from the
all-out-charge of the last Congress, which led to frequent veto fights
with the White House.
Pennsylvania's freshmen members of Congress are positioned to join the
action on environmental issues, with Joe Pitts (R-16th) landing a seat
on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and John Peterson
(R-5th) joining the Resources Committee.