Bowing To Pressure

Via AP: Speaker Hastert says he hopes for a vote Wednesday to revert to old rules governing ethics investigations and thus end a partisan stalemate.

“I’m willing to step back,” Hastert told reporters after a closed-door meeting with members of the GOP rank and file.

Later, in a brief Capitol interview, he said he expected the full House to vote on reversing the rules. Asked whether that would take place later in the day, he replied, “I hope so.”

Democrats charge that rules changes pushed through the House by Republicans earlier this year were designed to shelter Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and have stopped the ethics committee from conducting business in retaliation. The powerful Texan was admonished by the panel three times last year and faces scrutiny this year over overseas travel.

Hastert drew little dissent from members of his rank and file at the closed-door meeting.

And the Democrats immediately capitalized on the news.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that Republicans had decided to retreat under pressure. “I think they just took the heat,” she said. “I think there has been an editorial in every paper in the country saying this is wrong.”

Thanks Tom.

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