Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More Calls for New House Leadership

Moderate Republican Rep. Sherwood Boehlert of New York's 24th Congressional District yesterday called from Antarctica, saying that anyone seeking to succeed Tom DeLay should...

"look within and tell... with a straight face... to the rest of us, 'I'm not involved."'

According to the AP report Mr Boehlert...

said his party should choose a leader free of any connection to the scandal enveloping Congress after the guilty pleas of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Every member of the current Republican House Leadership, as well as many rank and file Republican House members, are potentially implicated in the current Abramoff-DeLay-Norquist bribery and corruption scandal. Some reports say as many as 20 House Republicans may be brought down by their corruption.

"It's a free-for-all," Boehlert said of the current competition to succeed DeLay, adding that the selection may still hinge on the Abramoff case.

"A lot is going to depend on what further revelations are going to come out in this whole Abramoff thing. I think we've just seen some of what is going to come. Who knows what else is going to come out?"

Boehlert has been increasingly involved in leading an ever changing coalition of the remaining moderate Republicans in the House. His comments follow comments made over the weekend by Rep. John Sweeney (NY-21st), a strong ally of both George Bush and Tom DeLay, calling for elections for all House leadership posts... a call in which he singled out Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert whose role in the bribery and corruption scandal has come into question.

According to a running tally being kept by The National Journal's Hotline blog none of the nine New York Republican Congressmen has committed to supporting any of the currently named contestants for House leadership positions.

Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY-26), the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), had previously ruled himself out a bid for a top House leadership post in 2006, has since been quietly rumored as a potential contestent. Mr. Reynolds has decided not to return money he has received from Indian Tribes represented by Jack Abramoff.

"Whoever wins the race will be committed obviously to moving the Republican agenda forward but smart enough to recognize the necessity of reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats," said Boehlert.

The congressman complained the partisan rancor of the 2004 presidential season has still not abated in Washington, and he hopes the GOP shake-up may cool some of that animosity.

"I find it as partisan as it's ever been in 40 years," said Boehlert, who worked as a Capitol Hill aide before he was elected to the House.

Echoing comments made last year by New York Democratic Congresswoman Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-28th), Boehlert decried the highly divisive and partisan environment created by the current and outgoing Republican House leadership.

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