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McKeon Takes On Spending Panel : Congress: Freshman representative proposes a bill to eliminate the powerful Appropriations Committee.

May 02, 1993|ALAN C. MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Freshman Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) has joined three colleagues in proposing legislation to eliminate the House Appropriations Committee--one of the most powerful bodies in Washington--as part of an uphill bipartisan effort to reform the way Congress makes spending decisions.

McKeon said the measure would "simplify the current convoluted and duplicative committee process. Our aim is to make Congress more accountable."

The bill would replace the two-track appropriations process by making standing congressional committees responsible for all spending within their purview. Under the current system, these panels adopt legislation authorizing non-binding spending targets but the actual spending totals are determined by the Appropriations Committee and its 13 subcommittees.

McKeon, speaking at a press conference Thursday, said, "this dual committee process has prevented the voters from fixing responsibility for the out-of-control spending that has brought our country huge deficits."

He was joined by Reps. George Brown (D-Colton), David McCurdy (D-Okla.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). Brown chairs the Science, Space and Technology Committee; McCurdy is a former chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

McKeon, who is president of the freshman GOP class, expects all 47 Republican newcomers to back the measure, an aide said.

Intense opposition is expected from the Democratic House leadership--which controls the legislative process.

"I don't think anybody sees it as a slam dunk," said McKeon spokesman Armando Azarloza. Still, he insisted, "it has a very good chance of passing."

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