Democrats on the House Banking Committee last week vowed to stay on-line, despite a Republican decree that would force them to shut down their new Internet home page.

The House Oversight Committee voted May 23 to require that all Internet sites be accessible only through the majority party's page, reasoning that all committee communications remain under the fiat of chairmen.

That restriction's bad enough, complained a Democratic banking panel staffer, but because committee Republicans have not launched an Internet page, Democratic members would have to close their site.

Now available from the Democrats are their views on pending banking legislation, news releases, and a compendium of Rep. Henry Gonzalez's accomplishments during his tenure as committee chairman. The home page address is http://www.house.gov/banking_democrats/.

Defending their site is a "free-speech issue," said the staffer and the Democrats vow to stay on-line. Republican banking committee staffers have told Democrats to be patient, the majority page will be running "soon."

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