WASHINGTON — Democrats plan to increase their numbers on the House Intelligence Committee, a move that Republicans charge breaks the majority party's promise to implement 9/11 commission recommendations.
That report, issued in 2004 when the Republicans controlled Congress, recommended a complete overhaul of the "dysfunctional" House and Senate intelligence committees. Included in the broader change was a recommendation that the revised committees only have a one-member numerical difference between parties.
When it was created in 1977, the House Intelligence Committee reflected the party ratio of the full chamber, according to the Congressional Research Service. Additional members have been added on both sides, bringing the two parties into closer alignment on the committee. The Senate Intelligence Committee already adheres to the one-member majority rule.
The House committee currently has 12 Democrats and nine Republicans. That will change to 13-8 in the new Congress, according to House Republicans.
"The Democratic leadership in Congress is not following up on their campaign promise of implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.
Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said most of the committees in the new Congress are being redrawn to reflect the Democrats' new 60 percent majority.
"Republicans are attempting to score political points when the facts and historical record are not on their side," he said.
Republicans had control of the House after the 9/11 report was issued in 2005 and 2006 but did not make the committee ratio change they are now advocating. It was then 12-9 in favor of Republicans.
"There is a world of difference when there is an explicit campaign pledge," Steel said about the Democratic decision not to adopt the one-member majority recommendation for the committee. "This is just another example of a broken promise."
The House in 2007 created a new intelligence appropriations oversight panel in response to the 9/11 commission report but did not adopt all of the suggested changes.
On the Net:
House Intelligence Committee: http://intelligence.house.gov/
Senate Intelligence Committee: http://intelligence.senate.gov/