HouseDemocratssay they’re still waiting by the phone for Speaker JohnBoehner’s call, and until they hear from him, they cannot decidewhether to participate in the Benghazi Select Committee towhichRepublicans were named Friday.
“Thespeakerhas not responded to respectful and reasonable requests forbipartisan standards. He has not responded. He did not returnanyphone calls that Leader Pelosi made to him yesterday. We aretryingto find a way to make this work, but the Republicans have shownnoinclination to make it work,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)toldreporters on Friday.
Democratswantfull access to the committee’s documents and interviews, as wellas input on who receives subpoenas.
“Ifthisis going to be a true bipartisan inquiry, we’ll participate.If this is going to be a Republican campaign strategy, it’sgoingto be harder for us to participate,” Israel said, referencing theNational Republican Campaign Committee’s email to donors centeredaround the Benghazi Select Committee.
Whenaskedby Breitbart News to respond to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)’s floor remarks Thursday that the accusation that the GOP isfundraising off the 2012 Benghazi attack is like the “pot calling the kettle black,” Israel responded, “I don’t knowwhat she’s talking about, quite honestly.”
We have asked the Speaker and his staff to consider avariety of options. I’m not going to talk publicly about whatthoseoptions are, but we’re looking forward to a reasonable responsefrom the Speaker. … The Republicans have passed aresolution creating a committee, but until the gavel is bangedand thefirst meeting is held, there’s room for us to discuss to makesurethat this is fair and balanced and bi-partisan and not awitch-hunt.
Israel,whois the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee(DCCC), repeatedly said Democrats were willing to involve themselves inthe select committee, but may very well boycott if conditions theyareoffering Speaker Boehner are not met.
Israel noted that Republicans should not have full control over determining the ratios, who gets subpoenaed, and who receives access to information. He also said:
Ibelieve we should participate, as long as we participate insomethingthat is a truly balanced and bipartisan inquiry, but if theresponse bythe Republicans is ‘our way or the highway,’ I don’t know why wewould want to participate in something. We have given them everyopportunity and multiple chances to show us and work with us on abalanced and fair inquiry. And if every one of those requestshasbeen met with rejection and partisanship, it would be very hardforus to participate.
IfDemocrats do not participate in the select committee, however,theywill not have access to subpoenaed documents immediately,either.Speaker and the Republican majority provides [sic] us with a processthat’sfair and balanced,” Israel told Breitbart News.