Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Power Players

As you know, I am in the middle of a project I call "Calling Congress", and having sent faxes and/or e-mails to every member of the House and Senate, I'm working on the next steps. Those steps include organizing volunteers to contact their Districts' Representatives and States' Senators, and I am also visiting the web sites of various members, to see if I can glean useful policy and position statements there.

But as anyone who has studied Congress knows, the real power (unless you're the Senate Majority Leaders/Speaker of the House) is in the Committees. And that is where I direct your attention today.

The House of Representatives has twenty "Standing" Committees, plus one "Permanent Select" Committee, which run the 44 House sub-Committees.

The Senate has seventeen "Permanent" Committees, plus two "Select" Committees, plus one "Special" Committee, which run the 68 Senate sub-Committees.

But not all Committees are created equal, and for our purposes, there are twelve which I want to direct attention to. In the Senate, they are the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees. In the House, they are the Armed Services, Appropriations, Homeland Security, International Relations, Judiciary, Intelligence, and Ways and Means Committees. I'm also not going to go into all the members, because these committees are sometimes packed. I do want to note some of the 'celebrities', the names that should ring a bell and indicate the tone of party leadership.

So, starting with the Committees with same-name partners in the other half of the Bi-Cameral Congress, here are some of the names to notice:

Thad Cochran, Chairman
Robert Byrd, Ranking Member
Arlen Specter, Member
Pete Domenici, Member
Richard Shelby, Member
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Member
Patrick Leahy, Member
Tom Harkin, Member
Barbara Mikulski, Member
Byron Dorgan, Member
Richard Durbin, Member

Jerry Lewis, Chairman
David R. Obey, Ranking Member
Jesse Jackson (D-Il), Member

Susan Collins, Chairman
Joseph Lieberman, Ranking Member
Pete Domenici, Member
John Warner, Member
Mark Dayton, Member
Frank Lautenberg, Member

Christopher Cox, Chairman
Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member
Bobby Jindal, Member


Pat Roberts, Chairman
John D. Rockefeller, Ranking Member
Orrin Hatch, Member
Trent Lott, Member
Chuck Hagel, Member
Dianne Feinstein, Member
Evan Bayh, Member
Barbara Mikulski, Member

Peter Hoekstra, Chairman
Jane Harman, Ranking Member


Arlen Specter, Chairman
Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member
John Cornyn, Member
Tom Coburn, Member
Edward Kennedy, Member
Joseph Biden, Member
Dianne Feinstein, Member
Charles Schumer, Member
Richard Durbin, Member

James Sensenbrenner, Chairman
Henry Hyde, Member
Lamar Smith, Member
Jeff Flake, Member
Sheila Jackson Lee, Mamber
Robert Wexler, Member

Richard Lugar, Chairman
Joseph Biden, Ranking Member
Chuck Hagel, Member
George Allen, Member
Lamar Alexander, Member
John Sununu, Member
Mel Martinez, Member
Christopher Dodd, Member
John Kerry, Member
Russell Feingold, Member
Barbara Boxer, Member
Barack Obama, Member

Henry Hyde, Chairman
Jeff Flake, Member
Ron Paul, Member
Katherine Harris, Member
Ted Poe, Member

Duncan Hunter, Chairman
Ike Skelton, Ranking Member

Bill Thomas, Chairman
Charles Rangel, Member
Jim McDermott, Member

There they are, the stars the parties count on for legislative leadership. Let's keep them in mind as we discover their positions on the key questions.

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