Rep. Marjorie S. Holt (R-Md.) has asked to be taken off the House District Committee where she has been a member since 1981, according to congressional staff aides.
The vacancy on the committee has not yet been filled, but one person mentioned as a possible replacement is Rep. Beau Boulter, a freshman Republican from the Texas Panhandle.
Boulter's only committee assignment so far is the House Budget Committee, an aide said.
Holt is getting off the District Committee so she can devote more time to the House Armed Services Committee, which will handle a number of high priority issues such as defense spending and weapons systems, her legislative assistant Doug Ritter said.
Holt's only other committee assignment is the Joint Economic Committee.
A conservative who represents Anne Arundel County and parts of Howard and Prince George's counties, Holt rarely attended District Committee meetings during the last Congress.
The chairmanships and membership of the four congressional panels that handle District affairs are expected to remain largely unchanged from last term in the 99th Congress, which convened Jan. 3.
Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D-Calif.) was renamed District Committee chairman, and Rep. Stewart B. McKinney (R-Conn.) will again be the ranking minority member of the committee. The Democratic members of the 12-member panel stayed the same.
Rep. Julian C. Dixon (D-Calif.) is in line to retain chairmanship of the nine-member House Appropriations subcommittee on the District, and Rep. Lawrence Coughlin (R-Pa.) is expected to remain as ranking minority member of that subcommittee, but these assignments are not yet set.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has said he expects to continue as chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District, which he took over in the last Congress. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) will not be ranking minority member this time, however, because he will be ranking on the HUD subcommittee, a Senate staff aide said.
Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) will again head the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on governmental efficiency and the District of Columbia, and Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) will remain as ranking minority member, although these have not been officially set, according to a Senate aide.
The appropriations subcommittees deal mainly with the District's budget, which Congress can modify and must approve each year. Those panels can force the city to spend money on programs or issues of their choosing, and sometimes add more federal funds for special projects.
The House District Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on the District are responsible for congressional oversight of locally passed legislation. They also consider changes in the relationship between the federal and District governments, such as proposals to give the city more authority over appointment of local judges or to establish a formula for federal payments to the District each year.
Assignments to the District panels are not coveted. And congressmen generally do not focus much attention on local concerns, though they retain their oversight powers.
There was an indication of this pattern Wednesday afternoon when city officials set up a 1 1/2-hour seminar for freshmen congressmen on the relationship between the city and federal governments. None of the 43 freshmen House members attended, according to some officials and staff who were there.
"I would say this is a colossal flop," commented one staff aide. "It was a seminar that never happened."
Some congressmen did drop by for an evening reception hosted by Mayor Marion Barry, which was supposed to have followed the seminar. But it was mainly attended by city officials and congressional staff aides, according to some who attended.