Like industry, Steel Caucus shrinks-but continues to wield influence

Nov 12, 2004 | 08:48 AM | Nancy E. Kelly

The Congressional Steel Caucus shrank by 15 members as a result of the Nov. 2 elections, but its mission to sponsor steel-related legislation and push the administration on steel issues is unlikely to be diminished.

Still, like the industry it represents, the caucus isn't what it used to be. Longtime steel observers recall that in the 1980s the group numbered approximately 200 compared with 115 House lawmakers who belonged to the caucus in the last congressional session.

It's too soon to know how many of those 15 lawmakers who lost re-election, retired or moved on to the Senate will be replaced by members willing to join the caucus. Presumably, Washington-based trade groups will focus on meeting with the new members of Congress to recruit them for the caucus, pointing out that their district has steel interests through producers, distributors and workers. But incoming lawmakers might hold entrenched free-trade views or sympathies for their steel-consuming constituents, many of whom have complained about steel import restrictions and domestic allocations.....

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