Drive to dismantle commerce department rolls on


  • Michael Carlowicz


Late on November 7, Republican leaders of the House of Representatives tacked a measure to abolish the U.S. Department of Commerce onto a continuing resolution that keeps the federal government running and solvent while the fiscal 1996 budget debate continues. With the existing temporary funding measure expiring on November 13, congressional leaders were working to extend the budget again and to raise the national debt ceiling.

The fate of the effort to terminate Commerce—which would eliminate the position of the Secretary of Commerce and shut down or transfer the department's programs to other departments—remained unclear at press time because Senate Republicans had not yet voiced support for the measure. The Clinton Administration has stated that the president would veto any attempt to shut down the Commerce Department; however, the link between the current dismantling measure and the continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown and financial default has further complicated the Administration's position.