Monday, March 19, 2007

Jefferson Still Waiting for Committee Assignment

Roll Call ($) notes that there's still no indication of when the House will vote on the anticipated assignment of Congressman Bill Jefferson to the House Homeland Security Committee:

As for Jefferson, his contested assignment to the Homeland Security remains unresolved and Democratic leaders have offered no timeline for a decision. “It’s still pending,” said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), last week. “We’re still talking to try and find some agreement.”

Jefferson had asked Pelosi for a seat on Homeland Security because it has broad jurisdiction over issues facing his district, which was battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Pelosi agreed and the Democratic Caucus unanimously approved Jefferson’s assignment earlier this year, but Republican leaders said they would object to the unanimous consent agreement and force a potentially embarrassing and politically uncomfortable roll call vote on the matter.

Jefferson is under federal investigation, and a related FBI raid of his home reportedly found $90,000 in cash in his freezer — a fact that has dogged Jefferson despite soundly winning reelection in November. Republicans argue the ongoing investigation, and the cash, are reason enough to prevent the Louisiana lawmaker from sitting on a panel privy to national security information.

Democrats counter that Republicans are hypocritical because they have seated Members who are under federal investigation as well. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) is under investigation by the Justice Department but remains the ranking member on Appropriations. Furthermore, Lewis is being investigated for matters that fall directly under his committee’s jurisdiction.

If Democrats are that angry about Republican hypocrisy, they could not ask for a better chance to call attention to it than a floor debate on Jefferson's committee assignment.

I think it's more likely they bring it up on the Friday evening before Easter recess, or some similar time.

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