FACTBOX-US Republicans may take over powerful committees

(Refiles to fix headline)

Oct 26 (BestGrowthStock) – If Republicans win control of the House
of Representatives or Senate from President Barack Obama’s
Democrats in the Nov. 2 election, they will take over those
chambers’ powerful committees.

Committee chairs, working with party leaders, set agendas
and take the lead in drafting laws in their jurisdictions —
from defense and education to farming and banking.

They can also call investigative hearings on a variety of
matters — including federal programs, suspected corporate
wrongdoing or White House actions — and seek subpoenas to
compel witnesses to testify.

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Here is a look at some possible new chairmen in a
Republican-led House and Senate and what they might do:

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS

Representative Jerry Lewis of California, first elected to
the House in 1978, would need a waiver to become chairman
because of Republican term limits on committee positions. If he
doesn’t get it, next in line could be Hal Rogers of Kentucky.
Regardless who ends up as chair, the job will be to slash
spending. Republicans vow to save $100 billion next year by
cutting U.S. spending to 2008 levels, with exceptions for
programs for the elderly, U.S. troops and military veterans.
The committee decides spending for various federal programs.

HOUSE BUDGET

Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, one of the House Republican “Young
Guns,” would likely chair this panel, which sets overall
federal spending targets and estimates U.S. tax revenues.
Determined to cut record U.S. deficits, Ryan has offered “A
Roadmap for America’s Future” that calls for gradually raising
the retirement age to 70, reducing future Social Security
benefits for the rich and capping Medicare and Medicaid
benefits. Democrats have blasted the plan and many Republicans,
at least so far, have been reluctant to back it.

HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES

Spencer Bachus of Alabama seems likely to chair the
committee, taking the gavel from Democrat Barney Frank, a chief
architect of Obama’s crackdown on Wall Street that included
tightening of regulation of the financial industry. Bachus has
said he would try to roll back portions of the sweeping law and
overhaul the housing finance system.

HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM

Darrell Issa of California vows a much more inquiring
committee next year if, as expected, Republicans win the House
and he takes over as chair. Republicans are expected to push a
bevy of probes, including one into what it denounces as Obama’s
failed $814 billion economic stimulus program.

HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE

Joe Barton of Texas would need a waiver to chair the panel
because of Republican term limits, and that might be tough. He
riled Republicans as well as Democrats in June when he
apologized to BP, saying it had been the victim of a White
House “shake down” by having to set aside a $20 billion fund
for victims of its Gulf oil spill. If Barton doesn’t become
chair, the job would likely go to Fred Upton of Michigan.
Regardless who gets the job, Republicans are likely to make a
renewed push for nuclear energy and opening of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

HOUSE ARMED SERVICES

Howard McKeon of California is in line to chair the panel,
which will help oversees Obama’s troop buildup in Afghanistan
and planned withdrawal next year. As the panel’s top
Republican, McKeon unsuccessfully pushed this year to increase
defense spending, particularly on ballistic missiles.

HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the first Cuban-American
and the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, is in line to
chair the committee. A member of the House since 1989, she
opposes legislation to ease travel and trade restrictions with
Cuba.

HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS

Dave Camp of Michigan, a key figure in the 1996 overhaul of
the U.S. welfare system, is in line to chair this panel that
writes tax laws. Camp would take a lead role in Republicans’
drive to create jobs by reducing taxes. He also promises to
push for approval of free-trade agreements drafted during the
Bush administration with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that
have been blocked by Democrats. A Republican-run panel also
would be pivotal to the party’s bid to repeal Obama’s
healthcare law or parts of it.

SENATE ARMED SERVICES

Republican Senator John McCain, defeated by Obama in the
2008 White House race, would likely become chairman. McCain has
been a critic of Obama on matters from financial regulation to
healthcare. He backs Obama’s buildup of troops in Afghanistan,
but opposes his plans to begin withdrawing troops next year.

SENATE JUDICIARY

Charles Grassley, a social and fiscal conservative, appears
likely to chair the panel if Republicans gain the majority. As
a member of the committee, Grassley opposed Obama’s two
successful Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena
Kagan. With Republicans in charge of the Senate and Grassley as
chair, Obama would need to pick more moderate judicial nominees
to win needed Republican support for confirmation.

SENATE BUDGET

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama gave Obama a tough time
the past two years as the top Republican on the Judiciary
Committee.

SENATE ENERGY

Richard Burr of North Carolina could rise to chairman. Some
environmentalists say he could focus on nuclear energy at the
expense of Big Oil, although he has been a major recipient of
oil and gas industry campaign contributions. Burr likely would
push to include nuclear power in a “renewable electricity
standard” bill requiring utilities to increase the use of
alternative energy in their generating capacity.

SENATE BANKING

Richard Shelby of Alabama relishes the possibility of
recapturing the chairmanship, a move Wall Street might welcome.
Shelby opposed the tightening of regulation of the financial
industry that Obama signed into law after it was narrowly
approved by the Democratic-led panel. Shelby told Reuters in
September that if he returns as chairman, he would not hesitate
to haul the reform bill back for reassessment.

SENATE FINANCE

Orrin Hatch of Utah will likely chair this tax-writing
panel. Hatch is a staunch conservative, but has crossed the
political aisle on occasion. He worked with late Democratic
Senator Edward Kennedy in 1997 on health insurance.

SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS

Richard Lugar of Indiana, a leading voice on foreign
affairs, may return as chairman of this panel. He headed it
from 1985 to 1987 and from 2003 to 2007. If Lugar doesn’t get
the chairmanship, the gavel might go to Bob Corker of
Tennessee.
(Writing by Tom Ferraro in Washington, Additional reporting
by Kevin Drawbaugh, John Crawley, Doug Palmer, Susan Cornwell,
Chuck Abbott, Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan, editing by
Philip Barbara)
(For more on the U.S. midterm elections please click:
http://www.reuters.com/politics/elections-2010)

FACTBOX-US Republicans may take over powerful committees