WASHINGTON - A House Republican steering committee on Thursday approved Rep. Michael G. Oxley as chairman of the Financial Services Committee, a newly created panel that combines the Banking Committee’s jurisdiction with the securities and insurance authority of the Commerce Committee.

Though Rep. Oxley’s appointment still had to be approved by the entire Republican caucus in a meeting scheduled for late Thursday, President-elect George W. Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert called to congratulate him, an Oxley spokeswoman said. A full House vote to approve chairmanship selections is slated for Saturday.

“It is an exciting assignment in an exciting area,” Rep. Oxley said in a statement. “This is not your father’s Banking Committee but a reflection of the modern state of a dynamic and emerging industry.”

In selecting Rep. Oxley, R-Ohio, Republicans bypassed Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., the most senior Republican on the former Banking Committee seeking the job. Rep. Oxley held a news conference with Rep. Roukema and another rival for the job, Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., to announce that Rep. Roukema would be named vice chairman of the committee and that she and Rep. Baker would be placed in charge of “important” subcommittees.

Rep. Roukema, who had publicly expressed her desire to head the panel, said Thursday that she was “gravely disappointed by the politics being played” in the selection process.

Observers have speculated that the Republican leadership might try to appease Rep. Roukema by offering her a position in the administration of the President-elect. But Rep. Roukema said she was not interested in at least one of the jobs offers being floated: U.S. Treasurer. She said she had not had any official contact with the incoming administration, but that intermediaries had raised the possibility.


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