House Democratic Leadership ‘Leaning Toward’ Playing Ball on Benghazi Select Committee

Democrats would appoint five members, but still think the committee is a sideshow.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Pelosi called on House Speaker John Boehner to cancel next week's recess until the House passes an extension of unemployment insurance.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
May 21, 2014, 7:32 a.m.

After weeks of de­bate with­in party ranks wheth­er to par­ti­cip­ate, House Demo­crat­ic Lead­er Nancy Pelosi is now lean­ing to­ward ap­point­ing mem­bers of her con­fer­ence to the Benghazi Se­lect Com­mit­tee.

Pelosi met with mem­bers of House Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship this morn­ing and will likely hold an­oth­er meet­ing this af­ter­noon to up­date them on ne­go­ti­ations between her and House Speak­er John Boehner. “No de­cision has been made, but Pelosi is now lean­ing to­ward ap­point­ing a full com­ple­ment of mem­bers,” says a seni­or Demo­crat­ic aide.

The pan­el has slots for sev­en Re­pub­lic­ans, who were ap­poin­ted last week, and five Demo­crats. Demo­crat­ic lead­ers had lob­bied for an even split, but when it be­came clear that wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen, they pressed Re­pub­lic­ans to en­sure equal rep­res­ent­a­tion on vari­ous is­sues, such as sub­poen­as and the right to be present and par­ti­cip­ate in the de­pos­ition of wit­nesses.

Pelosi and Boehner met Tues­day af­ter­noon. “We have offered as­sur­ances on com­mit­tee pro­ced­ures, but no sub­stant­ive changes that could hurt the in­vest­ig­a­tion,” says a House GOP lead­er­ship aide.

That may re­main a stick­ing point for Demo­crats, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the de­pos­ition of wit­nesses; Demo­crats have in­sisted that they want the right, not just the as­sur­ance, that they can be present and par­ti­cip­ate.

Pelosi and Boehner met Tues­day af­ter­noon. “We have offered as­sur­ances on com­mit­tee pro­ced­ures, but no sub­stant­ive changes that could hurt the in­vest­ig­a­tion,” says a House GOP lead­er­ship aide.

That may re­main a stick­ing point for Demo­crats, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the de­pos­ition of wit­nesses. Demo­crats have in­sisted that they want the right, not just the as­sur­ance, that they can be present and par­ti­cip­ate.

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