Vote Scheduled on Jefferson
Jefferson, who has steadfastly denied the FBI charges, refused to quit saying his city of New Orleans needed representation on the committee. That request and denial were not the end of the story.
On Thursday evening in a secret meeting the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee voted to recommend that Jefferson be removed from the Ways and Means. Moments after the Committee's recommendation, the full Democratic caucus met to consider and vote on the suggestion. However, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Mel Watt (D-NC) stopped the vote, noting that caucus rules require a cooling period and the vote can only be done within 5 to 10 legislative days after the recommendation.
Congressman Watt succeed in slowing the vote but not ending the process. A removal vote has now been scheduled for Thursday.
After the fireworks Chairman Watt issued a statement about the action of his Democratic caucus:
"What I hope is that the caucus comes to its senses and sees that there"s no precedent for this..., They might consider it politically expedient but I think it's about to blow up in their face...When you start making up rules and applying them only to one person...and if the only person you have applied it to is a black person then our community will legitimately ask, what in the world are you all doing?"
Congressional Democrats know exactly what they're doing, they have made this mid-term election about the ethical lapses of Republicans and can't be seen as hypercritical. Leadership may be willing to sacrifice Jefferson and endure short damage with African Americans to gain control of Congress.
Source: thehill.com http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/060806/jefferson.html