WASHINGTON — The House agreed Thursday to extend the life of its Iran-Contra investigating committee into next year to provide for an orderly disposition of classified documents and continued access to the papers for those involved in follow-up probes.
The compromise agreement was reached after Republicans charged Democrats with seeking a year-long extension as a political gambit. The compromise does not specify a date for the committee to go out of business, but Chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) said he expected the date to be March 1.
The committee is to continue operating with a skeleton staff until that date so its millions of pages of documents can be organized for transfer to the National Archives.
Democrats initially had asked that the investigating committee be kept alive throughout the year. But Republicans objected, saying the House majority was really seeking to use the committee to continue attacks on President Reagan and his party throughout a presidential election year.
Without further action, the House investigating committee would have gone out of existence at midnight Sunday.
The Senate investigating committee has no expiration date.