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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES : Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse Killed

By a 237-180 vote, the House refused to reauthorize its Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. Unless reversed, this will kill the non-legislative committee. The panel was set up 16 years ago on a temporary basis but has been routinely extended every two years. It has 35 members, 18 staffers and costs more than $750,000 annually to operate. Its purpose is to advise the 18 standing committees that have jurisdiction over the drug problem.

This was the first of several scheduled votes on measures to eliminate four of the House’s five select committees, in order to help reduce the deficit and thin out bureaucracy. Unlike standing committees, select panels cannot write legislation.

Surprised by the unexpected rejection of the narcotics panel, House leaders postponed votes on the other select committees.

Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) said, “I recognize that select committees are not intended to continue indefinitely” but “unfortunately, the drug problem is not about to go away.”

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Gerald B. H. Solomon (R-N.Y.) said, “The attitude of these select committees today seems to be that they have some divine right to eternal life.”

A yes vote was to continue the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. It was the only roll call on a substantive issue conducted during the week ending Jan. 29. Other House votes were procedural.

How They Voted

Rep. Horn (R): Nay

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Rep. Roybal-Allard (D): Nay

Rep. Royce (R): Nay

Rep. Torres (D): Yea

Rep. Tucker (D): Yea

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