The already low profile of the House science, research, and technology subcommittee is likely to sink further in the next session of Congress with the expected transfer of the gavel from chairman Rep. Doug Walgren (D-Pa.) to Rep. Tim Valentine (D-N.C.). Walgren, who has led the panel since 1983, has done his best to showcase such issues as science education, university-industry consortia, and the health of academic research. But his earnest, soft-spoken style doesn't attract much attention, and the panel's lack of direct control over budgets gives it very little clout.

Walgren is hoping to move to the greener pastures of the commerce and consumer protection subcommittee of the more visible Energy and Commerce Committee, exercising his seniority to succeed James Florio, now governor of New Jersey. "It was too good an opportunity to pass up," says one House aide. "Commerce is one of the four most powerful committees in...

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