- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Saxby Chambliss, who is moving from the House to the Senate today, says he wants to continue working on homeland security and anti-terrorism issues.
The Georgia Republican was appointed to the House Select Committee on Intelligence in early 2001 and became chairman of the panel's subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security, which began as a House working group.
"We were in the process of doing some oversight, and I want to continue that oversight," he said.
Mr. Chambliss, 59, has secured a spot on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and says he hopes to create a subcommittee or working group in the Senate focusing on terrorism and homeland security that would be similar to his House subcommittee.
The new senator has discussed this idea with Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, who is expected to take the reins of the Senate intelligence panel.
"He's got some interest in it, but I don't know what will come of it," Mr. Chambliss said.
Mr. Chambliss' subcommittee in the House issued a report in July explaining why U.S. intelligence agencies lacked the capability to be alerted to the September 11 terror plot. The report cited, among other reasons, resource constraints during much of the 1990s, questionable management decisions on funding priorities, a lack of foreign-language skills and linguists in intelligence agencies, a general low priority of counterterrorism and a lack of information sharing.
"We've got to do a better job of sharing information between federal agencies, as well as between the federal agencies themselves and state and local agencies," Mr. Chambliss said.
President Bush campaigned strongly for Mr. Chambliss, who unseated incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in November.
"I value his advice on terrorism," Mr. Bush said of Mr. Chambliss at a March campaign rally in Atlanta. "He's sound when it comes to counterterrorism. He's been in the Oval Office to give me sound, solid advice. And I've listened to it every time he's come in there."
The son of an Episcopal minister, Mr. Chambliss worked as a small-town lawyer in Georgia for years before running unsuccessfully for Congress in 1992. He tried again in 1994 and won the House seat that he held until today.
Agricultural issues also are important to the Georgian.
"His son-in-law is a farmer and he comes from a small town, so he has that tilt," fellow Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston said of the new senator.
Mr. Chambliss said he wants to "improve the crop insurance bill that we passed a couple of years ago," and be involved in oversight of the most recent farm legislation.
Passing an energy bill also is important to Georgia, he said, "both from an agricultural perspective as well as just a general consumer perspective."
Mr. Chambliss also has an interest in military issues. He said he wants to protect several Georgia military bases from an expected round of base realignments and closings in 2005.
Creating a prescription drug benefit under Medicare also will be a priority for the senator and many of his colleagues.
"We talked about prescription drugs for the past couple of years, and nothing has been done because the Senate couldn't move," said Mr. Chambliss, adding that he hopes this will change with the new Republican-led Senate.
Because of his legal background, Mr. Chambliss said, he has "a very keen interest" in getting Mr. Bush's judicial nominees confirmed.
He says he wants to work on the issue with his "longtime good friend" and fellow newcomer to the Senate, Lindsey Graham. Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, wants to be on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as does Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, Mr. Chambliss said. These two will be "on the firing line immediately" because of several federal judicial spots to fill and perhaps as many as three Supreme Court vacancies in the next six years.
"I look forward to working with those guys on those types of collateral issues," Mr. Chambliss said.

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