The House

A generational split among House Democrats is showing up, and the power of Congress' Old Bulls is slipping. Two key votes just before the Easter recess show the trend. On Mar. 23, the younger generation defied the seniority system by overwhelmingly choosing 55-year-old David R. Obey (Wis.) over 74-year-old Neal Smith (Iowa) as acting chairman of the Appropriations Committee. One day later, the upstarts crushed the House barons to pass, on a 315-110 vote, a landmark bill that restricts gifts lawmakers may accept from lobbyists. Losers in both battles included such powers as Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (Mich.), Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (Ill.), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks (Tex.).

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