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DATE=3/15/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CONGRESS-RUSSIA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-260225 BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Speaker of the U-S House of Representatives is setting up a special panel of Republican congressmen to examine United States policy towards Russia. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports Speaker Dennis Hastert (who is a Republican from the state of Illinois) says the task force will review all aspects of Washington's relationship with Moscow. TEXT: The creation of the task force was announced at a news conference with political overtones. Speaker Hastert says the benefits of America's Cold War victory over the Soviet Union have been squandered by the Clinton administration. /// HASTERT ACT /// Over the past seven years, the situation in U-S - Russian relations has deteriorated as a result of a failed Clinton-Gore Russia policy. /// END ACT /// The speaker named 12 senior members of his Republican Party to the task force, under the leadership of California Congressman Christopher Cox. Mr. Cox also spoke in terms of opportunities lost. /// COX ACT /// After the collapse of the Soviet empire, most people believed that a new democratic Russia would be a natural friend and ally of the United States. That is not happening right now. /// END ACT /// All the members of the task force are strong critics of the Clinton Administration. Democrats were not pleased by the formation of the panel, and charged they were being shut out for political reasons. Republican leaders in the House responded by saying they have a right to set up an advisory group made up solely of party members. The task force is scheduled to report on its findings and recommendations to Speaker Hastert in June. (Signed) NEB/PW/WTW 15-Mar-2000 14:57 PM EDT (15-Mar-2000 1957 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .