(Originally written on 4/26 at 11:30)
Spring has sprung, the temperatures are certainly rising, not least of all on the Hill, where news comes tonight that House Republicans have rescinded the ethics deadlock rule, implemented in January, that has railroaded the Ethics committee and been used to insulate Tom DeLay amidst the numerous allegations on his plate. Per the WaPo:
House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party’s image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks.
Republicans touched off a political uproar in January by changing a rule that had required the ethics committee to continue considering a complaint against a House member if there was a deadlock between the committee’s five Republicans and five Democrats. The January change reversed this, calling for automatic dismissal of an ethics complaint when a deadlock occurs.
Is this just window dressing, though? From all I’ve seen, Republicans seem more and more confident that DeLay will survive, at least for the remainder of his term. Such sentiment is reflected by DeLay ally, Henry Bonilla, as quoted in the San Antonio Express News (reg. req.):
Despite a poll showing waning support back home, DeLay launched a counteroffensive last week to fend off charges of ethics violations and to dampen speculation the controversy could lead to his political undoing.
“He should weather this storm,” said Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, a DeLay disciple. “He is still standing tall.”
This said, Bonilla is just that — a fanboy of DeLay, who fears him just as much as he reveres him. No doubt that this same fear scares the lot of them in the same way.