Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jefferson shut out of Ways & Means

Nancy Pelosi has yanked the rug out from under yet another gaggle of hand-wringers.

Following the re-election of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), a media narrative resumed over Speaker-elect Pelosi's supposed inability to run the House of Representatives in a more honest, open and ethical fashion than her Republican predecsessors. Jefferson is the subject of a federal bribery investigation.

Jefferson's victory, the narrative went, was supposed to present Pelosi with an insurmountable dilemma. How, the hand-wringers wailed, could Pelosi possibly conduct House business with someone like Jefferson polluting the air.

I wrote in response that the democratically-elected Jefferson's presence in the House posed no problem at all for Pelosi or for the Democratic majority. Jefferson would merely find himself sitting on a back bench unless and until the allegations against him are cleared up.

And, in fact, that is precisely what has happened.

House Democrats, insistent that they will hold lawmakers to higher standards, decided Tuesday that Rep. William Jefferson will not return to an influential committee until a federal corruption investigation involving him is completed.

Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic Steering Committee had resolved that Jefferson, who last Saturday won a runoff election in his New Orleans district, will not be given back his spot on the Ways and Means Committee, the panel that determines tax and trade policies.
Meet the new boss, folks. She ain't nuthin' like the old boss.