Term: 2 years Salary: $96,600

QUESTION: What change or reform would most improve the performance of Congress?


(1 seat)

Beverly B. Byron (Democrat)

Christopher P. Fiotes Jr. (Republican)

Beverly B. Byron (D)

306 Grove Blvd., Frederick

Age: 58


Member of Congress; chairman, Military Personnel and Compensation subcommittee; ranking member, House Interior Committee and Select Committee for Aging; dean of Maryland Congressional Delegation; chairman, Maryland Commission on Physical Fitness, 1979-89; appointed to the House Leadership Task Force on AIDS, 1988; four-time recipient of Guardian of Small Business Award, National Federation of Independent Businesses; Spirit of Enterprise Award for support of American business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 1990; board member, Mount Saint Mary's College and Hood College; chairman, House Special Panel of Arms Control and Disarmament, 1983-86.

A. Clearly, the budget process is in need of reform. Year after year, the 13 appropriations bills get booed down in committees and we find ourselves with no other choice than to try and fund government operations by mammoth continuing resolutions that contain innumerable spending items that wouldn't survive the regular appropriations process. If we find that we can't satisfactorily reform the yearly cycle we have now, then we should look at proposals to make it a biennial process. In the past, I usually have voted against continuing resolutions. In the past, I have voted for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. I would continue to advocate this position. If we let the existing budget process go unchanged, then Congress will remain stymied in its efforts to deal effectively with the deficit.

Christopher P. Fiotes Jr. (R)

13877 Grey Colt Dr., Gaithersburg

Age: 56

Commercial real estate broker; president, C.P. Fiotes and Associates; U.S. Senate, Office of the Sergeant of Arms, 1976-1987; member, Greek Orthodox Church; married; two children.

A: The most severe handicap in the performance of Congress has been the increasing dependency of its members on special interest groups for their campaign financing and/or supplementary income. As the gap widens between the responsibility of the representatives to their constituents on the one hand, and the obligation they owe to the interest groups that support them on the other, the legislative process and its system of controls and balances weakens to the point of total ineffectiveness. A recent and most extreme example -- both in dimension and in catastrophic results -- is the savings and loan crisis. In order to improve the performance of Congress, the legislators must resume their original role, the representation of the American citizens. This can only be achieved through wide-sweeping reform of campaign financing regulations, as well as further limitations and controls on speaking honoraria.