Nicaragua has granted a Hong Kong company the right to build a $40 billion interoceanic canal. Slideshow
Factbox: Likely lineup of new House Republican chairs
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After winning control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday's midterm elections, Republicans will take over the chamber's powerful committees when the new Congress convenes in January.
Committee chairs, working with party leaders, set agendas and take the lead in drafting laws in their jurisdictions -- from defense and education to farming and banking.
They can also call investigative hearings on a variety of matters -- including federal programs, suspected corporate wrongdoing or White House actions -- and seek subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify.
Here is a look at some of the likely new chairs:
Representative Jerry Lewis of California, first elected to the House in 1978, would need a waiver to become chairman because of Republican term limits on committee positions. If he does not get it, next in line could be Hal Rogers of Kentucky.
Regardless who ends up as chair, the job will be to slash spending. Republicans vow to save $100 billion next year by cutting U.S. spending to 2008 levels, with exceptions for programs for the elderly, U.S. troops and military veterans. The committee decides spending for various federal programs.
Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, one of the House Republican "Young Guns," would likely chair this panel, which sets overall federal spending targets and estimates U.S. tax revenues. Determined to cut record U.S. deficits, Ryan has offered "A Roadmap for America's Future" that calls for gradually raising the retirement age to 70, reducing future Social Security benefits for the rich and capping Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Democrats have blasted the plan and many Republicans, at least so far, have been reluctant to back it.
HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES
Spencer Bachus of Alabama seems likely to chair the committee, taking the gavel from Democrat Barney Frank, a chief architect of Obama's crackdown on Wall Street that included tightening regulation of the financial industry. Bachus has said he would try to roll back portions of the sweeping law and overhaul the housing finance system.
HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
Darrell Issa of California vows a much more inquiring committee next year if, as expected, he takes over as chair. Republicans are expected to push a bevy of probes, including one into what it denounces as Obama's failed $814 billion economic stimulus program.
HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE
Joe Barton of Texas would need a waiver to chair the panel because of Republican term limits, and that might be tough. He riled Republicans as well as Democrats in June when he apologized to BP, saying it had been the victim of a White House "shake down" by having to set aside a $20 billion fund for victims of its Gulf oil spill. If Barton doesn't become chair, the job would likely go to Fred Upton of Michigan. Regardless who gets the job, Republicans are likely to make a renewed push for nuclear energy and opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
HOUSE ARMED SERVICES
Howard McKeon of California is in line to chair the panel, which will help oversees Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan and planned withdrawal next year. As the panel's top Republican, McKeon unsuccessfully pushed this year to increase defense spending, particularly on ballistic missiles.
HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the first Cuban-American and the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, is in line to chair the committee. A member of the House since 1989, she opposes legislation to ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba.
HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS
Dave Camp of Michigan, a key figure in the 1996 overhaul of the U.S. welfare system, is in line to chair this panel that writes tax laws. Camp would take a lead role in Republicans' drive to create jobs by reducing taxes. He also promises to push for approval of free-trade agreements drafted during the Bush administration with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that have been blocked by Democrats. A Republican-run panel also would be pivotal to the party's bid to repeal Obama's healthcare law or parts of it.
(Reporting and writing by Tom Ferraro; Additional reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh, John Crawley, Doug Palmer, Susan Cornwell, Chuck Abbott, Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan, editing by Christopher Wilson)
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