THE 104th Congress will break new ground for women in politics. For the first time since 1945, a woman will head a Senate committee.
As Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, Kansas Republican Nancy Kassebaum will become the most powerful woman in Senate history.
The only other woman to chair a Senate committee was Arkansas Democrat Hattie Wyatt Caraway. She chaired the defunct Committee on Enrolled Bills.
Another Kansas Republican, Congresswoman Jan Meyers, is in line to chair the House Small Business Committee. Meyers will be the first woman to chair a House committee since 1977. - Associated Press
Voters grade media in election
AMERICAN voters were not very pleased with the way the media covered this month's congressional and state elections, according to a new poll released Sunday.
The poll of 20,000 voters, released by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press, found most respondents giving the media a C, or an average grade, for its work.
Of the 12 states surveyed, a majority of voters only in the state of Massachusetts expressed satisfaction for media coverage of the campaigns there.
Overall, two-thirds of voters still said they learned enough from the campaign to make an informed choice among candidates.
The poll found Republicans less satisfied with the press than Democrats. Supporters of failed Republican Senate candidates Michael Huffington of California and Oliver North of Virginia were most critical of all, the poll said.
- Reuters Congress to consider GATT, taxes
NEXT year's Congressional battle over taxes will highlight the different philosophies of Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Right out of the election-year victory box, Republican leaders are pressing for a capital gains tax cut - a break especially helpful to business. The GOP philosophy is that when business gets a break, wages are enhanced and jobs are created.
Democrats, by contrast, would like to deliver direct tax relief to middle class Americans. The Clinton administration is looking at ways to do this.
Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen has pledged to look seriously at both a middle class tax break as well as GOP efforts to reduce capital gains taxes.
In the remaining days of this session, Congress meets this week to vote on GATT, a global trade accord ardently supported by President Clinton and depicted as a model of bipartisan cooperation with the GOP.
The lame-duck session of the expiring, 103rd Congress will be brief - a half-day in the House and two days in the Senate. But it will be spiced by selection of leaders for the new, GOP-controlled 104th Congress that convenes in January.
Passage for legislation blessing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is assured in the House, where departing Democratic Speaker Thomas Foley of Washington and his incoming Republican successor, Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, both favor the plan to reduce trade barriers around the world. - Associated Press