Rostenkowski Undecided On Another House Term, Text of His Speech Says

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski has not decided whether to run for another term in Congress next year and is weighing several factors before he makes his decision, according remarks he prepared but did not deliver on Monday night.

"There's a lot of speculation these days about whether I'll retire my gavel at the end of this Congress," the Illinois Democrat said in the text of a speech prepared for the Public Securities Association's first annual awards dinner here. "In all candor, I haven't decided yet."

Rep. Rostenkowski, who is in his 16th term in Congress, has been chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee since 1981. Capitol Hill watchers have speculated for more than a year that he would step down in 1992 because of a campaign finance law that would allow him to keep a $2 million campaign fund if he retires by then.

"My decision will depend on several things," the text of his speech states. "The first is whether the redistricting process will give me a district I can win in."

Another issue "is whether I can be a force for positive change and responsibility in Congress," the text states. If he could not, "then I see little reason for sticking around and being nothing more than a complainer at the margins."

The congressman attended the dinner to receive the association's first annual distinguished public service award. He delivered most of his prepared speech, but skipped the section containing the remarks about running for another term.

When asked later why Mr. Rostenkowski omitted that part of his speech, an aide said, "He didn't want to talk about it."

If he were to step down, chairmanship of the Ways and Means panel could fall to any of several senior members on the committee, including Rep. Sam Gibbons, D-Fla.; Rep. J.J. Pickle, D-Tex.; or Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

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