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Congressmen Call For a Committee on Children

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Washington--Seven members of the House of Representatives have proposed the formation of a bipartisan select committee on the condition of children, youths and families.

Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, announced the plan late last month at a national strategy conference on children and families sponsored here by the Children's Defense Fund, a Washington-based advocacy organization.

A select Congressional committee, Representative Miller told the conference, "is essential if children are to be rescued from their current invisible status in the legislative process."

"Our nation's children number 64 million, more than one-third of our population," said the Congressman, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee. "They are af-fected by both government and private-sector policies, as well as by general economic trends. But all too often, their voice is not given a full hearing because of the procedural and structural hurdles created by the current Congressional committee system....

'Complex Needs'

"Our fragmented system of committees and our elaborate budget process," he said, "inhibit the Congress's ability to look carefully at the diverse and complex needs of children and families apart from federal programs and budget functions."

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated last week in Congress to promote the idea, Mr. Miller was joined by Representatives James Jeffords, Republican of Vermont; Ted Weiss, Democrat of New York; Henry Hyde, Republican of Illinois; Henry Waxman, Democrat of California; John Rousselot, Democrat of California; and Lindy Boggs, Democrat of Louisiana.--P.C.

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