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Online Special: Vote 2002
Congress convenes in a lame duck session. 05.14.02
Talk of War: The congressional debate over a potential resolution on Iraq. 10.09.02
House members discuss the resolution authorizing military force in Iraq.10.02.02
A discussion with Rep. Nancy Pelosi.02.07.02
An interview with Senator Trent Lott. 01.30.02
An interview with Senator Tom Daschle. 01.31.01
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of Congress.
New Leadership in Congress Posted:11.21.02
After a sweeping victory by the Republicans in the 2002 elections, new leadership is set to emerge in the 108th Congress.
The announcement from House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt that he was stepping down as Democratic leader was one of the first signs of fallout from the Democrat's poor performance in the election. Saying that it was time for new leadership, Gephardt left the post, which he had held for eight years.
Nancy Pelosi from California, Gephardt's second in command, will take his place and become the first woman to lead a political party in Congress. She is seen as more liberal than Gephardt and many moderate Democrats worry that the party will lean more to the left under her leadership.
For the Republicans, Sen. Tom Delay of Texas will take over as House majority leader.
Sen. Tom Daschle, (D-S.D.) will now move from Senate majority leader to minority leader, replaced by Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Lott held this position before, from 1996 until 2001, until Sen. James M. Jeffords from Vermont defected from the Republican Party to give the Democrats a one-vote majority.
Because the majority party in Senate is always pegged for top posts, there will be major shifts in the committees. The committee structure is where most of Congress' work is done, shaping economic and sometimes foreign policy. Laws are rarely passed without a committee's approval.
Two of the major committees involved in international and domestic affairs will see a shuffle in leadership. Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Del.) will lose his top spot as head of the Foreign Relations Committee, a panel that will play a role in the push to disarm Iraq. That job will now go to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.)
Another change in committee leadership will be for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) held the post and helped pass the No Child Left Behind Act. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) will replace him.
Although Republicans claimed victory in the elections, the majority number still falls short of the 60 votes needed to cut off filibusters--long speeches meant to postpone a vote-- or override budget constraints and force a final vote.
And Lott cautions being over confident, "Some people say, 'You know, full steam ahead, just get it done.' That's easier said than done in the Senate."
-- By Raven Tyler, NewsHour Extra
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