WASHINGTON--The two Congressional branches will meet in early January to organize, set the size of committees, and select committee and subcommittee chairmen.
With the Republicans retaining control of both houses, changes in these leadership positions will be relatively few. Nonetheless, some committees handling matters of interest to oncologists and physicians in general will see new chairmen due to retirements and one defeat.
In the Senate, Ted Stevens of Alaska is expected to chair the Appropriations Committee, replacing Mark Hatfield of Oregon, who retired. The chairmanship at Labor and Human Resources became vacant with the retirement of Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas. It likely will go to James M. Jeffords of Vermont.
The new chairman at Commerce, Science, and Transportation probably will be John McCain of Arizona, who ranked fourth in seniority among Republicans on the committee in the last Congress. However, the defeat of chairman Larry Pressler of South Dakota, the earlier resignation of Bob Packwood of Oregon, and the expected elevation of Senator Stevens at Appropriations makes Senator McCain the front-runner.
In the House, familiar names will dominate, including Bob Livingston of Louisiana at Appropriations, John Kasich of Ohio at Budget, and Bill Archer of Texas at Ways and Means. The Science Committee, however, will get a new chairman. Robert Walker of Pennsylvania retired. His likely successor is F.J. Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
Sometimes an MD's place is in the House. Voters re-elected the four physicians who served in the House during the last Congress: Tom Coburn, MD, of Oklahoma, Greg Ganske, MD, of Iowa, and David Weldon, MD, of Florida, all Republicans, and Democrat Jim McDer-mott, MD, of Washington.