WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders on Tuesday chose a small but powerful group of negotiators to meet with senators to decide the fate of legislation in response to the Sept. 11 commission's (search) terror-fighting recommendations.
The Republicans named as negotiators were Intelligence Committee chairman Pete Hoekstra (search) of Michigan, Armed Services chairman Duncan Hunter of California, International Relations chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois, Judiciary chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Rules chairman David Dreier of California.
The Democrats are Democratic Caucus chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Jane Harman (search) of California and Ike Skelton of Missouri.
The Senate named its negotiators on Monday. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (search), D-Conn., said he hoped the two sides would be able to meet before the end of the week.
"We'd like to have the first meeting by the end of the week," Lieberman said Tuesday. "But that's harder for the House members who just left. But we have to put ourselves on a schedule."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search), R-Tenn., named Governmental Affairs chairwoman Susan Collins of Maine, Intelligence chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas, Rules chairman Trent Lott of Mississippi to the Senate panel.
They are joined by GOP Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Mike DeWine of Ohio, as well as Lieberman, Carl Levin of Michigan, Richard Durbin of Illinois, John Rockefeller of West Virginia, Bob Graham of Florida and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.
House and Senate leaders hope to get something to the president to sign before Election Day, but there are only two full working weeks before then. Lieberman said he and Collins have started meeting with Hoekstra and Harman and have come to "a meeting of the minds on some of the intelligence portions of the bill."
"Our charge is to get this done as quickly as possible," Lieberman said. "There is still some hope that we can come back the week of the 23rd and try to adopt the conference report and send it to the president."