Canton Repository

November 7, 2002

DeWine, Voinovich to reap GOP success 

By PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Copley Washington correspondent 

WASHINGTON — Ohio’s two Republican senators, Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, reveled Wednesday in the GOP’s recapture of the U.S. Senate, saying it will increase their influence over federal policy and allocation of dollars to states, including Ohio.

The narrowly divided Senate has been under the control of Democrats since May 2001, when Sen. James Jeffords bolted
from the GOP and gave the Democrats a working majority.

Now that the GOP once again has a majority of seats in the chamber, Ohio’s senators will be in the party controlling the
Senate agenda.

“Ohio should be thrilled,” said Voinovich, who entered the Senate as a member of the majority in 1999. He watched as the GOP lost control 17 months later. As a result of Tuesday’s elections, Republicans are in control in the White House,
the House and Senate.

The changeover will return DeWine and Voinovich to leadership posts as chairmen of a handful of subcommittees.

When the Senate reorganizes under Republican control next year, Voinovich hopes to reclaim the chairmanship of a transportation and infrastructure panel that is part of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He’s already a member of that subcommittee. If he becomes chairman, he will play a larger role in the rewrite of legislation that authorizes billions of dollars in federal transportation aid.

The post could help him to “move up our share of money we get back from the highway trust fund.” The state currently retrieves about 92 cents for every dollar in gasoline taxes that it sends to Washington, he said.

But he noted it is still far from a sure thing he could increase the return, since raising Ohio’s share would reduce the allocation to other states.

Two fellow Republicans with more seniority in the Senate stand in the way of Voinovich’s chairing transportation and infrastructure. They are Sen. John Warner of Virginia, likely to reclaim the chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond of Missouri, who could reclaim the chairmanship of the Small Business Committee.

If Warner and Bond resume the chairmanship of those committees, it would pave the way for Voinovich to head transportation and infrastructure. Senate rules prohibit chairing two committees at the same time.

As a leading proponent of civil service reform in Congress, Voinovich hopes to get jurisdiction over the federal personnel system moved to another panel he is likely to chair. That’s the subcommittee that oversees government management, restructuring and the District of Columbia, a part of the Government Affairs Committee.

DeWine, first elected in 1994, expects to remain on the powerful Appropriations Committee, as well as the Judiciary and
Intelligence committees.

It’s also likely DeWine will reclaim his chairmanships of the appropriations panel that helps determine federal spending
on the District of Columbia, and the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust, business rights and competition subcommittee.