WASHINGTON The House voted overwhelmingly tonight to reverse Republican-written rules that led Democrats to shut down the ethics committee. Republicans backed the resolution grudgingly.
The Republicans, accused of writing the rules to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay from investigations, heeded Speaker Dennis Hastert s call for a retreat in order to end the deadlock on the evenly divided panel. The vote was 406-20.
In debate, Democrats continued to attack DeLay s conduct.
Republicans countered that they didn t make a mistake but accepted political reality: In a committee with five members of each party, Democrats would not supply any votes to let the committee operate without a reversal of the rules.
We were absolutely right, said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. countered, When they thought no one was looking, they passed a package that effectively neutered the committee ... to protect one man from investigation.
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