House Democratic leaders may soon face a direct challenge to their increasingly shaky power. Minority Whip Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has launched a campaign to reform House rules. His plan would slash committee staffs, terminate perks, lessen leaders' control over the flow of legislation, and name an independent inspector general to police members' activities. The Republicans lack the votes to force their agenda. But the gop could attract support from the disaffected young Democrats who have already forced their leadership to allow a vote on a balanced-budget constitutional amendment.

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