By Russell Berman - 06/13/11 05:47 PM EDT
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed Democratic leaders to consider stripping Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) of his committee assignments if the embattled congressman refuses to resign.
“I’m hoping that they will begin to move, if he does not resign, towards things like stripping him of his committees,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. “I don’t think that we have time for this. We obviously have a lot of other issues to be concerned with.”
Cantor was the first congressional leader to call for Weiner’s resignation last week after he admitted to sending explicit photos and messages to women through social media websites and then lying about it for days.
Democratic leaders on Saturday pushed for Weiner to resign. He has thus far refused and over the weekend said he would request a short leave of absence while he enters a treatment center.
Cantor declined to say whether the House should try to block his leave of absence request, but he said Democratic leaders should do everything they could to force him to resign on his own.
A senior Democratic aide responded: "The bottom line is that Rep. Weiner should resign and the GOP is engaged in a pathetic attempt to grab headlines in order to distract from their no jobs agenda. It’s been 160 days since the GOP took control of the House, and Americans are still asking: Where are the jobs, House Republicans?"
The aide noted that members are not required to submit formal requests for a leave of absence and that requests have been granted by the House automatically for at least the last 100 years.
-- This story was updated at 3:54 p.m.