Recognizing the size of the recently launched Dept. of Homeland Security, the House Appropriations Committee has established a subcommittee to oversee the new department's funding. Under the reorganization, announced Jan. 29, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) will chair the new homeland security panel. Rogers had led the transportation subcommittee, which will be abolished and its responsibilities split between the homeland security panel and a new Transportation-Treasury-Postal subcommittee.

The moves will take effect beginning with the fiscal 2004 appropriations round, which will start with the Feb. 3 release of President Bush's budget proposal.

The Homeland Security Dept. will be composed of more than 20 agencies or units of other departments, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard. The Appropriations Committee says Homeland Security will have some 186,000 workers, making it the third-largest federal department. Only the Depts. of Defense and Veterans Affairs are larger.

House Appropriations Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young (R-Fla.) called Rogers "a perfect fit" for the new subcommittee. Young noted that In Rogers' more than 20 years on the committee, "he has had direct oversight of more than 70% of the staff that will comprise the Homeland Security Dept."

With TSA and the Coast Guard moving out of the Dept. of Transportation, Appropriations' new Treasury-Transportation panel will have responsibility for the federal highway, aviation, transit, research and administrative budgets. That subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.).

Although the Homeland Security Dept. was established under legislation enacted on Nov. 25, most of its component agencies will not move under its bureaucratic wings until March 1.