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OXLEY, TAUZIN COULD VIE FOR HOUSE TELECOM POST

WASHINGTON-Despite reports that Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) would be a shoo-in for the chairmanship of the House telecommunications subcommittee following this year’s congressional elections, there will be a fight for that post.

Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), the subcommittee’s vice chairman under the retiring Rep. Jack Fields (R-Texas), wants a shot at the job. Oxley’s office confirmed that the congressman is “very interested” in the position, and that “it would be safe to say” that there will be a race. Oxley will give up his current chairmanship of Commerce’s commerce, trade and hazardous subcommittee if he succeeds Fields, who is leaving Congress for family reasons.

Tauzin, who switched parties five months ago, had considered running for the Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Louisiana Democrat Bennett Johnson this year. Following his decision against pursuing such a campaign, Tauzin was assured by House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) that “his seniority would be respected” regarding the subcommittee chairmanship.

While the Speaker cannot directly appoint subcommittee heads, he can suggest to the chairmen of the full committees his recommendations for open positions; committee members then vote on such recommendations.

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