San Diego Union Tribune

04-Jan-2001 Thursday 

(Page A-9 )

Davis and Issa take seats in Congress 

Copley News Service

WASHINGTON -- San Diego County's two new members of Congress took their oaths of office yesterday, expressing hopes for bipartisanship, right after going in opposite directions in a virtually party-line vote for House

Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Darrell Issa, R-Vista, sat on opposite sides of the House chamber as the 107th Congress was called to order.

Davis joined nearly all of the 210 other Democrats in voting for Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., while Issa joined the 220 other Republicans in electing Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to a second term as speaker.

Despite the traditionally partisan opening contest and a decidedly cool Democratic reaction to Hastert's call for support of President-elect Bush's agenda, both Davis and Issa said they hoped the parties would work together
in the next two years.

Davis, who served six years in the California Legislature, said there were some things on which the parties could agreed, even on the bitterly contested tax issue. That included removing the so-called marriage penalty
and reducing the estate tax burden, she said.

The leadership should focus on "that balance, where can you go without making it prohibitive to pay down the debt in a time that we all would expect that to happen," Davis said.

Issa noted some other issues on which there should be agreement, including saving Social Security and paying off the national debt.

Both said they were working hard to get the committee assignments they wanted, although they conceded it was unlikely that, as first termers, they would get all they requested.

Davis said she asked for Armed Services, because of "how important it is to San Diego," and for Education, because of her experience as a school board member and service on that committee in Sacramento. She was hopeful, but
knew she was not likely to get both, she said.

Issa's top choice was Commerce, where he could use his considerable business experience. But recognizing he might not get that highly sought panel, he also was requesting International Relations, so he could work on trade issues; Judiciary, where he could use his experience on intellectual
property issues; or Small Business.

Committee assignments are expected to be made today and tomorrow. 

Both Davis and Issa held receptions in their new offices and greeted a steady parade of friends, supporters, other members and a large number of lobbyists for a wide variety of interests.

Davis got a special visitor, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who had spent a day campaigning with her during her successful challenge to then-Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Imperial Beach.

Issa won a virtually uncontested race to replace former Rep. Ron Packard, R-Carlsbad, who retired.