WASHINGTON The House voted on Wednesday 215 to 206 to establish the Financial Services Committee.
A more powerful offspring of the House Banking Committee, the new panel takes jurisdiction over securities and insurance activities from the Commerce Committee. In addition to its new powers, Financial Services has authority over banking, housing, government-sponsored enterprises, and community development.
House Republicans are scheduled today to formally approve Rep. Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, as committee chairman. Rep. Oxley headed the Commerce subcommittee on finance for the past four years.
Lawmakers are also expected as early as today to set the ratio of Republicans to Democrats on the new panel. In the last Congress, 32 Republicans and 27 Democrats served on House Banking, but Democrats are demanding more representation to reflect their five-seat gain in the House in the November elections.
Once the breakdown is set, the number of committee seats could be expanded to accommodate Commerce Committee members who want to be on the new panel.
A number of Commerce members have asked to serve on the Financial Services Committee, a congressional aide said Wednesday. Republican leadership will be addressing that.
Rank-and-file committee members are expected to be named on Friday. The full House has scheduled a Saturday vote to approve the chairmen and committee member selections.
The vacancy atop House Banking was created by Republican term limits on committee chiefs, which required Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, to step down after serving as House Banking chairman for six years.
Senior House Banking members Reps. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., and Richard Baker, R-La., who had been vying for the chairmanship, are expected to get consolation prizes, most likely chairmanships of the more powerful Financial Services subcommittees.