Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chambliss Wants Budget Post Moultrie Republican Hopes to Succeed Kasich as Chairman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chambliss Wants Budget Post Moultrie Republican Hopes to Succeed Kasich as Chairman

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- When Ohio Rep. John Kasich abandoned the GOP presidential race last week and announced he wouldn't seek re-election to Congress, Georgia Rep. Saxby Chambliss moved quickly.

The Moultrie Republican, now in his third term in the House, notified Speaker Dennis Hastert that he wanted to succeed Kasich in the next Congress as chairman of the House Budget Committee, the powerful panel in charge of shaping the allocation of all federal spending.

"I simply told him I was interested and just wanted him to know because I'd been getting calls about it," Chambliss said. "I told him at the appropriate time I'd like to talk to him about it."

That conversation kicked off a behind-the-scenes campaign that will culminate late next year when House Republicans, assuming they retain control of Congress in the 2000 elections, choose a new budget committee chairman.

Chambliss heads into the campaign as the early favorite. Having served as vice chairman this year, he gained valuable experience wielding the gavel while Kasich was out pursuing his presidential ambitions.

But he's already drawn opposition for the post. Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, announced last week that he's seeking the chairmanship. Others said to be weighing a possible campaign include Reps. Nick Smith and Peter Hoekstra, both of Michigan.

Chambliss was tapped for the No. 2 spot on the committee by former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., after he became heir-apparent last fall to departing Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

When Livingston was forced to resign amid allegations of adultery, Hastert replaced him and endorsed his selection of Chambliss as the speaker's representative on the budget panel.

Having the support of the speaker is crucial to winning the chairmanship, since he makes the initial recommendation to the House GOP steering committee. …

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