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House Looking To Compromise On Legislation

House to avoid "extreme"

By Eric Pfeiffer
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 27, 2006

Three Democrats who will lead powerful House committees in the next Congress insisted their party will not pursue a radical agenda, with one backing off some from his vows for a military draft, but said they will first tackle issues that have bipartisan support.

"We want to win elections, and we're going to do our best to do so. This doesn't mean to get into any extreme positions on any matter, " said Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, during a joint appearance on "Fox News Sunday" with Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Charles B. Rangel of New York.

"We'll do what makes good sense on Iraq, what makes good sense on tax policy, what makes good sense on the environment and on energy, and we'll come up with a package that the people will like and that will make good sense in the middle," said Mr. Dingell, who is expected to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Democrats take control in January.

"The first thing we're going to do is try to work together on things we know we can accomplish," Mr. Rangel said, adding that the Democrat-led Congress will not become "the committee against the president; it's not going to happen."

Mr. Frank said during his appearance on "Fox News Sunday " that the Democratic agenda will be popular because many of their signature issues, including a proposal to raise the minimum wage, have been incorrectly identified as liberal.

"I think it's very popular. I think a lot of issues that people are talking about are indeed quite popular," he said. "Giving the federal government the mandate to negotiate drug prices as part of the prescription-drug program I think has great majority support."

"In fact, what's happened is some things have become liberal because the right-wingers who control the Republican Party have abandoned them to us," said Mr. Frank, who is slated to lead the House Financial Services Committee.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ike Skelton, the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, said that congressional resolutions from earlier this year mean that it is now "law" that U.S. forces should begin withdrawing from Iraq immediately.

"We're going to have to send a message to the Maliki government, to the Iraqi people, as well as the American people that we're not there forever. And it's in the law that we redeploy this year. That would begin it this year," the Missouri Democrat said during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Mr. Frank said he hopes to offer a bill that would allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. However, the homosexual lawmaker said that his personal priorities aside, it was not near the top of his legislative agenda.

"Our first efforts are going to be to do those things that I think the mainstream of America wants," he said.

Mr. Rangel said his party wouldn't be able to pass more partisan legislation even if it wanted.