Key House committee may get new leader

March 17, 2005 at 4:52 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde's pending retirement has those eager to succeed him as International Relations chairman campaigning for the job.

The Illinois Republican would have to give up the gavel at the end of the current Congress even if he did not retire. The rumor he might leave sooner, perhaps to become U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, has some committee members lining up to replace him.

U.S. Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., have been aggressively courting higher-ups and campaigning, The Hill said Thursday. Burton has "been meeting with leadership and discussing a run in the past few weeks," an unnamed GOP aide said.

A spokesman for Iowa Republican Jim Leach, the committee's next most senior Republican, discounts the imminent departure rumor. "As far as I know, this Congress runs for another year and a half," Gregory Wierzynski said. "There's no indication Henry Hyde is about to give up the gavel" before the 109th Congress concludes.

Leach was passed over in 2001 in favor of Hyde but is a leading contender for chairman next time. A spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., would not comment on Hastert's plans for the chairmanship or on conversations that may have taken place with would-be chairmen.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Wisconsin's Walker in hot seat over open-records restrictions
10-month-old Turkish baby rescued after floating out to sea
Putin congratulates U.S. on Independence Day
Immigrant who shot S.F. woman was deported 5 times in the past, police say
Greek economy reaches low point on eve of referendum