Democrats still want Weiner to quit but have other priorities

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives continued Tuesday to demand the resignation of New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, but they stressed that they were focused on more important issues than "Weinergate" as the House reconvened after a Memorial Day recess and district work session.

Adding to the pressure on Weiner, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday that he also thought Weiner should resign.

Weiner has been embroiled in scandal after he lied two weeks ago about sending lewd online Twitter and Facebook messages and photos to several women. He's since admitted his behavior and apologized.

"Americans are being gouged at the gas pumps by speculators," Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., said after the Democrats' caucus meeting. "That's what we talked about 95 percent of the time."

Andrews said no one had called for Weiner to be stripped of his caucus membership or committee assignments.

"I haven't heard one word about Weinergate," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said upon exiting the caucus meeting. He said he was much more concerned about speculation and excessive energy prices.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said Democrats were more concerned with fighting cuts to important programs, such as Medicare, that Republicans were proposing. She said during a recent visit to her district that constituents had said nothing to her about Weiner.

Because he's faced his own ethics investigations, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he thought it was a time for him to show humility. In 1990, the House voted to reprimand Frank, who's gay, after he became embroiled in a controversy about his relationship with a male prostitute. Although the House Ethics Committee said Frank had no knowledge of the man's illegal activity, it did find that Frank had used the powers of his office to win favors for the man.

"I just don't think it's appropriate for me to set myself up as a judge of others," Frank said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called for an ethics investigation of Weiner's conduct and whether he used House resources inappropriately.


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