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Washington Insight

September 13, 1993|PAUL HOUSTON and JIM MANN and WILLIAM J. EATON

MOMENTUM FOR REFORM? The push to streamline Congress' operations got a double boost last week, key lawmakers believe. One was Vice President Al Gore's sweeping proposals to overhaul the executive branch. The other was a move by rebellious House members to free legislation bottled up by leaders. "I'm optimistic we have a climate to pass a tough, bold package" of congressional reforms, said Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), who is working on detailed proposals with Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.), Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.). . . . Consensus seems broad to switch to a two-year budget, significantly cutting the annual sound and fury over taxing and spending. Tougher to achieve: slashing the number of overlapping committees and subcommittees--and their powerful staffs. But, Dreier said, "there's a high level of frustration among members" that could spawn major change. "People are rushing from one subcommittee meeting to another," hobbling their ability to study issues, conduct other business and just plain think.

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