Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Doolittle Dodges a Bullet - Keeps His House Leadership Post

Today's vote was pretty close, but alas, the Republican culture of corruption prevailed.

From Erica Werner(AP) San Jose Mercury News:

Rep. Doolittle secure, for now, in House GOP leadership post

California Republican Rep. John Doolittle won't have to campaign to keep his spot in the House GOP leadership, thanks to a decision by House Republicans on Wednesday to forego sweeping leadership elections. On a 107-to-85 vote, House Republicans defeated a proposal by Reps. Dan Lungren of California and John Sweeney of New York calling for elections to replace all seven of the top GOP leaders of the House beneath House speaker.

That would have required Doolittle to campaign for his job as House Republican Conference secretary amid questions about his ties to disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Doolittle accepted campaign cash from Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in an influence-peddling scandal, and interceded on behalf of Indian tribes represented by Abramoff's firm.

Instead, House Republicans will vote Thursday to replace former Majority Leader Tom DeLay. If the current majority whip, Roy Blunt of Missouri, succeeds in his bid for DeLay's job, they'll also pick a new whip.

They'll also vote for a new Republican Policy Committee chairman. Another Californian, Darrell Issa of Vista, is gunning for that job but faces opposition from several other lawmakers.

Lower-level leadership jobs such as conference secretary and policy chairman don't have the high profile of majority leader or speaker, but give the lawmakers a seat at the table when the top leaders meet.

Lungren and Sweeney had argued that wholesale changes were needed in the wake of the Abramoff scandal that helped force DeLay to permanently relinquish his leadership post.

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