New House rules?

As is the case every other year, all 435 House seats are up for reelection. The good news is that the more cataloger-friendly representatives are, in the words of Roll Call, the independent newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, “safe” bets to retain their House seats. These incumbents include W.R. “Billy” Tauzin (R-LA), who helped introduce such bills as the Know Your Caller Act of 1999, which would prohibit telemarketers from interfering with consumers’ caller identification services, and Michael Oxley (R-OH) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), who have helped support bills such as the Unsolicited Electronic Mail Act of 1999, which would allow consumers to file with the Federal Communications Commission statements saying that they do not want to receive unsolicited commercial e-mail and/or unsolicited erotic e-mail; the FCC would then have to make the list of consumers available to marketers.

Richard Barton, senior vice president of congressional affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, agrees with Roll Call: “We do not expect any major changes in any of the candidates that the DMA is supporting.”

The bad news is not in the individual candidates’ races, but in the domino effect on the committee and subcommittees that could occur if the Democrats wrest control from the Republican-led House. A new speaker of the house would, in turn, appoint new committee chairs who might then appoint to subcommittees representatives unsympathetic to catalogers.

Given the numerous possible scenarios, any thoughts regarding possible chairmanship of key committees and subcommittees would at this time be purely speculative. But at least one important subcommittee will definitely see a change of leadership. Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), the architect of the Postal Modernization Act (H.R.22), is expected to retain his congressional seat, but a six-year term limit dictates that he can no longer chair the Subcommittee. Consequently, the status of H.R.22, designed to streamline the Postal Service and make it competitive with private companies, remains uncertain.

Whether McHugh will remain on the postal subcommittee at all – and who will replace him as chairman – is also speculative at this point. McHugh’s chief of staff, Robert Traub, expects him to remain on the parent committee, Government Reform.

Meanwhile, Gene Del Polito, president of the Arlington, VA-based Association for Postal Commerce, questions not only who will provide future leadership of the subcommittee but also whether the subcommittee will even continue to exist: “In 1999 there was a push to get rid of [the subcommittee], but we got an extension because of the pendency of H.R.22.”

If the Democrats take over Congress and keep the subcommittee, Del Polito sees Danny Davis (D-IL) as the most likely candidate for chairperson. And if the Democrats take over but fold the subcommittee into the Government Reform Committee, he expects California’s Waxman would most likely be in charge.

If the Republicans hold their lead in the House but fold the subcommittee into the Government Reform Committee, committee chair Dan Burton (R-IN) would oversee postal matters. Or, Del Polito says, if the Republicans remain in charge of the House, they may merge the postal subcommittee with another subcommittee to create a combined postal/civil service subcommittee.

At the same time, Tom Bliley Jr. (R-VA), chair of the Commerce Committee, is retiring. Much of the Internet privacy legislation, such as the Internet Tax Freedom Act, originated from that committee and its Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee. Republican front-runners for Bliley’s chair include Louisiana’s Tauzin, who currently chairs the telecommunications subcommittee, and Ohio’s Oxley, who chairs the Finance and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.

Key House committees and subcommittees and their chairs Appropriations Committee: Bill Young (R-FL) Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary: Harold Rogers (R-KY) Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government: Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) Banking and Financial Services Committee: James Leach (R-IA) Budget Committee: John Kasich (R-OH) Commerce Committee: Tom Bliley Jr. (R-VA) Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection: W.R. Tauzin (R-LA) Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations: John Boehner (R-OH) Government Reform Committee: Dan Burton (R-IN) Government Reform Subcommittee on Census: Dan Miller (R-FL) Government Reform Subcommittee on Postal Service: John McHugh (R-NY) Judiciary Subcommitteee on Commercial and Administrative Law: George Gekas (R-PA) Small Business Committee: James Talent (R-MO) Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Paperwork Reduction: Sue Kelly (R-NY) Small Business Subcommittee on Tax, Finance, and Exports: Donald Manzullo (R-IL) Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: Bud Shuster (R-PA) Ways and Means Committee: Bill Archer (R-TX)

Key Senate committees and subcommittees and their chairs Appropriations Committee: Ted Stevens (R-AK) Budget Committee: Pete Domenici (R-NM) Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee: John McCain (R-AZ) Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism: John Ashcroft (R-MO) Finance Committee: William Roth (R-DE) Finance Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth and Debt Reduction: Frank Murkowski (R-AK) Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight: Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment, Safety, and Training: Mike Enzi (R-WY) Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights, and Competition: Mike DeWine (R-OH) Small Business Committee: Christopher Bond (R-MO)

Joint committees and their chairs Economic Committee: Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL), chair; Rep. James Saxton (R-NJ), vice chair Taxation Committee: Sen. William Roth (R-DE), chair; Rep. Bill Archer (R-TX), vice chair

Source: 2000 U.S. Congress Handbook – State Edition

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