Changes in Congressional Committee Chairmen Could Impact Oncologists

December 1, 1996

WASHINGTON--The two Congressional branches will meet in early January to organize, set the size of committees, and select committee and subcommittee chairmen.

WASHINGTON--The two Congressional branches will meet in earlyJanuary to organize, set the size of committees, and select committeeand subcommittee chairmen.

With the Republicans retaining control of both houses, changesin these leadership positions will be relatively few. Nonetheless,some committees handling matters of interest to oncologists andphysicians in general will see new chairmen due to retirementsand one defeat.

In the Senate, Ted Stevens of Alaska is expected to chair theAppropriations Committee, replacing Mark Hatfield of Oregon, whoretired. The chairmanship at Labor and Human Resources becamevacant with the retirement of Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas. It likelywill go to James M. Jeffords of Vermont.

The new chairman at Commerce, Science, and Transportation probablywill be John McCain of Arizona, who ranked fourth in seniorityamong Republicans on the committee in the last Congress. However,the defeat of chairman Larry Pressler of South Dakota, the earlierresignation of Bob Packwood of Oregon, and the expected elevationof Senator Stevens at Appropriations makes Senator McCain thefront-runner.

In the House, familiar names will dominate, including Bob Livingstonof 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 Pennsylvaniaretired. His likely successor is F.J. Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

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Is There a Doctor in the House?

Sometimes an MD's place is in the House. Voters re-elected thefour physicians who served in the House during the last Congress:Tom Coburn, MD, of Oklahoma, Greg Ganske, MD, of Iowa, and DavidWeldon, MD, of Florida, all Republicans, and Democrat Jim McDer-mott,MD, of Washington.

In addition, three other physicians won election to the Houseof Representatives for the first time: Democrat Vic Snyder, MD,of Arkansas and Republicans John Cooksey, MD, of Louisiana andRon Paul, MD, of Texas.

Sen. Bill First, MD, the lone physician serving in the Senate,is in the midst of a 6-year term and was not up for re-election.No physicians ran for any of the Senate seats contested this year.