By Patrick OConnor - 01/26/05 12:00 AM EST
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is expected to chair a subcommittee on the International Relations Committee after his ouster as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Republican leadership dismissed Smith from his Veterans Affairs chairmanship during a Steering Committee meeting earlier this month because some members were upset with the congressman for his outspoken advocacy of veterans funding. Leadership replaced him with Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), a reliable supporter of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
Smith is now expected to chair the International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, with a focus on protecting human rights, a committee aide told The Hill.
“He is extremely valuable to us,” the aide said. “He’s a workhorse, not a show horse.”
Smith is vice chairman of the International Relations Committee and serves as co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which seeks to promotes human rights and democratic stability in Central and Eastern Europe. He has also written two laws to fight illegal human trafficking.
Smith’s dismissal upset a number of veterans groups that are concerned Buyer will cut spending on veterans programs as part of an overall Republican effort to trim the budget.
Smith was dismissed from his chairmanship two years shy of the GOP’s self-imposed six-year term limits.