The old sports adage, "You can't tell the players without a scorecard," might also be appropriate for the lineups of the key housing and housing finance committees in the 107th Congress.
On the House side, the old familiar "Banking Committee" has been replaced by the "Financial Services Committee" with jurisdiction over not only banking and housing but now also securities and insurance. Given the Fed's interest in allowing banks to engage in realty transactions, this committee will be important to the real estate industry during the coming two years.
The panel will have 70 members, up from 59 on last year's Banking Committee, but the Republican majority will be one less. Last year, it was 32-27 in favor of the GOP. Now, it's 37- 33.
The leader of the new panel is Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, who is being rewarded with the chairmanship for conceding the chair of the Commerce Committee to Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, R-La.
No subcommittee chairmanships have been made as yet. Consequently, it is not known who will replace Rep. Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., as head of the housing and community development subcommittee. But Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, was vice chair in the 106th Congress, is next in line. Lazio gave up his seat to run for Senate but lost to Hillary Clinton.
Reps. Richard Baker, R-La., and Marge Roukema, R-N.J., are expected to retain their current posts, Baker as head of the capital markets and government-sponsored enterprises panel, and Roukema as chair of the financial institutions unit. Both Baker and Rouekma had been vying for the full chairmanship.
Baker's panel will gain jurisdiction over the securities business; Roukema's, over the insurance industry.
Rep. Baker welcomed the new chairman. "I know Mike to be a serious lawmaker and the type of leader who can build consensus and rally people together around solid principles," he said. "His expertise on key policy areas will help point the way for all of us to follow."
The new committee includes seven Republican freshmen and four GOP members of the Commerce Committee members who received waivers in order to serve on Financial Services.
The freshman are: Eric Cantor, Va.; Feliz Grucci Jr., N.Y., Melissa Hart, Pa.; Shelley Moore Capito, W.Va.; Mike Ferguson, N.J.; Mike Rogers, Mich., and Patrick Tiberi, Ohio. The four who also serve on Commerce are: Paul Gillmore, Ohio; Christopher Cox, Calif.; John Shadegg, Ariz., and Vito Fossella, N.Y.
At deadline, the Democrats had yet to make their committee assignments.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, where the two parties have equal representation, all committees will be split 50-50. But in a few days, when George W. Bush is sworn in as President and Dick Cheney as vice president, the GOP will have a one-vote margin. So Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, will retain the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee.
The GOP hadn't made its Senate committee assignments at press time. But the Democrats have assigned three newly elected members to seats on the Banking panel.They are Thomas Carper of Delaware, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Jon Corzine of New Jersey.
Sen. Carper served on the House Banking Committee from 1983 to 1992 before he was elected governor of Delaware, and Sen. Corzine is the former chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Sen. Stabenow served two terms in the House before defeating Sen. Spencer Abraham in the November elections.
Meanwhile, Dems John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina are leaving the banking committee.