Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Transcript of an interview between editors and reporters from The Washington Times and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, yesterday at his Capitol office:

National Editor Ken Hanner: Ten years ago, Republicans won control of the House by running on the Contract with America, which was a blueprint for limited government. Recently, Republicans have championed expansion of federal role in education, huge new entitlement programs, including prescription drugs, and overall increases of federal spending. When did the Republicans become the party of big government?

Mr. DeLay: Well, I hope we can shed anybody’s notion that that’s where we are headed. First, in full disclosure, I voted against No Child Left Behind. But, that’s the president’s agenda. And he worked very hard to accomplish that agenda. We will revisit No Child Left Behind, look at its effectiveness and those kinds of issues. I know the president wants to extend it. But I think we have to see if No Child Left Behind is actually working before we talk about extending it.

I’m not using it as an excuse, because I came here to limit government and reduce the size of government. And as important as those two are, what I find the most important is to redesign the government, now that we have the opportunity to do that. And I’m not trying to point the finger at anybody, but I’m very proud of the fact that the House has taken the lead on many of these issues. If you look at the House bills, you couldn’t make that statement.

If the House bills had become law, whether it be tax relief or spending or budgets or any of those kinds of things, the House has taken the lead in holding the line. With the small margins in the Senate, starting back when Clinton was president, we had to buy him out of town. It was obvious the Senate wouldn’t go along with our aggressive tactics right at the beginning. So that cost us spending under Clinton.

When Bush came here, the Senate was still the lowest common denominator. And we had to deal with them. Now that sounds like an excuse, and I guess it is. But if you look at the real record, sans the effort to fight a war - and we’ll spend whatever it takes to win the war on terror - but if you look at the other spending, it’s actually been going down.

The rate of growth has gone from - I’ll get you the numbers, but as I can recall - after the first year, in the second year - that’s when Bush really had control and provided discipline - the rate of growth was about 5 percent. The next year, it was 4 percent. The next year, it was 3 percent. Last year, on discretionary spending, we increased spending ever so slightly, but you can say we froze discretionary spending.

The biggest spending in this government is mandatory. This House leadership has started out this new Congress, with this president and knowing that we have a better Senate, forcing the issue on looking at all mandatory spending. We started out last November working on this issue when the leadership got together … with the White House. The White House was reluctant because it didn’t think we could actually succeed. We had quite contentious discussions in that leadership meeting. The White House agreed, the Senate agreed, we were sort of moving forward on the budget that could address mandatory spending.

Our budget that we just passed just a few weeks ago is the toughest budget that we’ve had since 1997. And it includes a very healthy look at all mandatory spending in reconciliation. So we’re headed in that direction. We know that we have to show fiscal responsibility. And we’re trying to do that.

On the redesigning government part, it’s been my own personal project to redesign government. We have a whole effort that started two years ago called the 21st Century Careers Initiative, which is an effort to use regulatory reform as redesigning government, and we will even get more aggressive in this part of our agenda this year and next.

Secondly, you can’t redesign government till you redesign this place. I started an effort to redesign the Appropriations Committee to make it harder to spend - to make it easier to spend on our priorities and harder to spend on the Democrats’ priorities. We accomplished that, and the Senate followed. We are taking an aggressive approach on the budget process. And we’re going to have a budget process bill. And I’ve got all my chairmen who are interested in this working on that bill, along with other members. [Rep.] David Dreier [California Republican] has been charged with looking at the entire jurisdictions and committees of the House.

Remember, when we came in, we cut 30 percent of the committees budgets, we changed some jurisdiction - not a whole lot, but it was that kind of effort. And we’re continuing in that effort.

Reporter Charles Hurt: A lot of smart people say that no matter how you limit the growth of spending, it’s not going to have a dramatic impact on shrinking government. What three big-ticket items would you personally like to see the government get out of the business of doing?

Mr. DeLay: Well, I’m not sure I want to go there. Let me put it a different way. What people don’t notice is this House has led the way and has had tax relief - sometimes more than once in a year - every year since we’ve been in the majority. That’s really important. Some of it actually has become law. More important than that is that it’s been over 10 years since we voted to raise any federal taxes. How did we do that? We grew the economy. Through our policies, we helped the economy grow.

The idea is to hold the line on spending and let the economy catch up. Balanced budgets can be done [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi’s way. We could do that tomorrow. We could raise enough taxes to balance the budget. That’s what they did in 1993. That’s not where we’re going. We’re holding down spending. In our budget, we actually are cutting nondefense discretionary spending. We’re actually cutting it. Not just freezing it, cutting. And so you hold down spending and let the economy grow. Part of our agenda is the tax reform. We’re very strong on throwing out this tax code and replacing it with a 21st century tax code that will probably allow us to double the economy in less than 10 years.

Managing Editor Fran Coombs: Isn’t the reason you don’t want to name big-ticket items that once you start a program it’s difficult to get rid of the program?

Mr. DeLay: That’s certainly been the case. And the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce - you’re absolutely right. But the opposite is also true. If I named anything I would like to get rid of, then my ability to actually get rid of it is over.

Because the minute the press gets a hold of it, the tsunami comes in, and there’s no way to make it happen.

Mr. Hurt: Does that mean that shrinking or limiting government is not the priority, but that the priority is to grow into the government we have?

Mr. DeLay: No, no, no. Shrinking government and limiting government are actually two different things. Limiting the government in your life, regulatory, social issues and all that and shrinking the size of government or reprioritizing - or as I like to say it, ‘redesigning’ - government to reflect our values are very important.

I know some may have opposed what we did in Medicare. I’m very proud of what we did in Medicare.

Reporter Ralph Z. Hallow: Why?

Mr. DeLay: Because if we didn’t do anything, it would break this country. What we did, we instituted - not in a pretty way - but we instituted our philosophy and our values, bringing in competition, trying to eliminate third-party payments, bringing in co-payments … now they are instituted. And they are part of the Medicare program.

Mr. Hallow: Why are so few conservatives in your own conference on board?

Mr. DeLay: Let me finish. Let me finish. We’e got value - our values - instituted in there. And the most important thing that will change health care in this country is health savings accounts. That was the biggest victory in the Medicare system. So if Medicare gets out of whack and is not going like we think it will go, and the cost curve will be bent because of what we’ve instituted, then we’ve got those institutions and we can dial them in and out and make them happen. If you go with the philosophy of the Democrats - a government-run health care program for the senior citizens - you can’t do that. You have limited choices. You can raise taxes, raise premiums, or you can cut benefits, do those types of Democrat adjustments.

Now we have opportunities to bring in more competition. If it isn’t working, we can raise co-payments, we can put the decisions for health care for senior citizens in the consumers’ hands, not in the government’s hands. It’s a huge sea change. Huge. That’s why the Democrats are fighting so hard against Social Security. They think we’ll do the same thing to Social Security. Now I’ll answer your question.

Mr. Hallow: Why do so few conservatives on your own conference agree with you on this?

Mr. DeLay: A few of them don’t. Last time I checked, it was only about five or six who actually voted against the Medicare bill.

Reporter Stephen Dinan: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants you to drop the Real ID Act from the supplemental spending bill, and Minority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to stall it by turning it into a debate over immigration. Do you support keeping the Real ID Act, and how will you ensure it remains in the supplemental bill?

Mr. DeLay: Stay strong. I think [Rep.] James Sensenbrenner [Wisconsin Republican] did a fantastic job in bringing America’s attention to what he was trying to do in protecting our borders. What we did with border security, it’s not immigration. We have told Bill Frist and all those who wanted to do immigration that we intend to do immigration reform as part of this Congress. And we are more than willing to work with the Senate in doing that.

I don’t know if [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid [Nevada Democrat] can hold his members or more importantly get some Republicans to go along with him on his efforts. That’s not my job. My job is to protect the borders of this country. We have tried to do that and answer the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. That’s what these are. And in the supplemental - a supplemental that fights the war on terror, and part of that is protecting our borders - if there are senators that have a problem with that, they ought to go to their constituents and tell them why.

Mr. Dinan: So if Tom DeLay has anything to say about this conference report, it will have Real ID?

Mr. DeLay: Well, I’d just as soon not make it about me. The House has stated its position, and the House is going to stand by its position. It’s not Tom DeLay.

Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley: What about the proposal by Sen. Larry Craig [Idaho Republican] to grant amnesty to [illegal immigrant] farm workers?

Mr. DeLay: Well, I’m one of those that supports a guest-worker approach of a different kind. Now as for Larry Craig’s approach, I am not sure we want to do that now in isolation to an overall —

Mr. Blankley: If that comes back in the conference report, isn’t that going to create a conflict for a lot of conservatives?

Mr. DeLay: It certainly will. Anybody that takes any immigration and puts it in the supplemental is jeopardizing the supplemental, because we need to go through regular order on immigration. We don’t need to drop it in the conference report. This is too important for the American people. We need a national debate about this, and we’re going to have that national debate.

Mr. Blankley: Is that the position of the House conferees?

Mr. DeLay: Uh-huh.

Mr. Coombs: What kind of immigration reform do you want to see in this Congress?

Mr. DeLay: Well, I hate to bias what I’d like to see. I think it’s incredibly important - before we even look at guest worker or anything else - to convince the American people that we are protecting our borders. I personally think that we ought to use the eyes and ears of our military. You’ll never build a wall high enough or deep enough to keep people from coming over the Rio Grande River. They’re gonna come to feed their families no matter what you do. But you can build a seeing-eye wall. I mean, we can read your license plate from satellites. We can set up our systems with Predators [remote-control unmanned surveillance planes] and everything. We don’t need these guys down there - and God bless them for doing it - to watch people coming over the border. We can use our military -Mr. Hallow:

Mr. DeLay: Yes. We can spot them, pick up the phone, call the Border Patrol and let them go pick them up. I mean, how hard is that? Ultimately, we need to enforce our laws. The American people need to see us protect our borders and enforce our laws. And then, they’ll be willing to talk about a guest-worker program, understanding that once you’ve gone after those that are here illegally ? you won’t get them all - and protecting the borders, then, when you have a guest-worker program that is properly done, for instance, don’t let people that have broken the law get up to the front of the line. A simple thing like, if you want to be in the guest-worker program, you have to go home and apply for it in the country of origin. That kind of thing. You got to go back, you can’t bring your family. That kind of stuff.

Mr. Hallow: It sounds like you’re at odds with the White House on this.

Mr. DeLay: No. I’ve talked to the president about this. He thinks the country of origin is a good idea. He’s open to other ideas. He’s a little tough on bringing your family. But the key here is you don’t want to bring your family, don’t allow it - they go home anyway now illegally. They go back and forth all the time. It’s not a matter of breaking up families, it’s a matter of good sense. If they bring the family and they get established here, they’ll never go home.

Mr. Coombs: Will the House then be pushing for more Border Patrol funding and things like that?

Mr. DeLay: Oh yeah. Absolutely. And we’ll be looking at the ideas that are out there like I have stated in using the military ?

Mr. Hallow: Is the White House on board with that?

Mr. DeLay: Not yet. You cannot put soldiers on the border. Soldiers are trained to kill. They’re not trained as border patrol or police, and you cannot do that. But you can use their technology.

Mr. Coombs: Is it realistic to think that the millions of illegal immigrants in this country will be willing to return to their countries of origin to apply for a guest-worker program?

Mr. DeLay: If we’re enforcing the law, they will. Because it puts a lot of pressure on them if they know that we’re not just looking the other way like we’re doing now.

Mr. Coombs:[Homeland Security Undersecretary] Asa Hutchinson told The Washington Times about six months ago that the American public didn’t have the will to deal with illegal immigration, to push these people out if necessary.

Mr. DeLay: Well, there is a conflict here. I’ll never forget a rather elderly lady that I was sitting by at a lunch who was just ranting and raving about all these illegals that are over here. And I said, ‘Well, fine.’ We got to talking. You know, she had a yard man, she had a maid, she had some illegals living across the street. I said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll call up right now and pick up your maid, your yard man and the people living across the street.’ [She said,] ‘Oh, don’t you do that. Don’t you do that. I want the ones that are up there in North Houston to be picked up.’

Mr. Hanner: Do you agree with the president that the Minuteman Project on the border right now are vigilantes?

Mr. DeLay: No. I’m not sure the president meant that. I think that they’re providing an excellent service. It’s no different than neighborhood-watch programs and I appreciate them doing it, as long as they can do it safely and don’t get involved and do it the way they seem to be doing it, and that’s just identifying people for the Border Patrol to come pick up.

Mr. Coombs: Are all the recent stories and questions about your ethical behavior undercutting your agenda? How badly are they hurting?

Mr. DeLay: No. I’m very proud of what we’ve already done. I mean, we’ve sent a class action bill. Our lawsuit abuse reform is well on track. This week, we’re going to send the president a bankruptcy bill. We passed the budget as I mentioned. That was tough to do, but we did it. I’m very proud of that. We’re doing an energy bill next week. We’re going to do [Central American Free Trade Agreement] sometimes in the next few weeks. We’ve got a very ambitious appropriations schedule. If we pull it off for the first time since I’ve been here, we’re going to have every appropriations bill out of the House by the July Fourth break. We’re going to do a lot more lawsuit abuse reform, tax reform. Nothing has slowed down here.

Mr. Coombs: At your regular press conference later today, 30 minutes will be devoted to answering questions about your ethics.

DeLay: I’m not going to answer them.

Mr. Coombs: Aren’t members of your conference going to be scared of the charges?

Mr. DeLay: No, actually, what’s going on is I just came from a conference. What they are doing is, they are solidifying and unifying the Republican conference.

Mr. Coombs:Who is ?they??

Mr. DeLay: The Democrats. This is the Democrats’ agenda. They don’t have an agenda.

Mr. Coombs:Where’s your public support?

Mr. DeLay: Have you not seen the television in the last few days? Members are out on television, they’re talking about it. There’s a huge conservative movement out there that’s working very hard. There’s friends all over the place working hard. Listen, if I didn’t have any support, I’d have been gone a long time ago. The members - you need to talk to the members. But my sense is they understand what this is. They’re looking at the charges and they’re just shaking their heads.

The fact is that I have certain international responsibilities given to me by my leadership position but, more importantly, by my interests. They’re not writing about my trips to the Soviet Union in the 1980s to get persecuted Jews out of the Soviet Union, participating in the Refusenik Movement. They’re not writing about the trips that - I went to Central America fighting the communists and Sandinistas. They’re not writing about the fact that I’m heavily involved in stopping human trafficking, especially of children in Southeast Asia and in Africa, and using children as sex toys and taking children and putting them in guerilla organizations. They’re not talking about human rights violations when I went to China, talking about religious freedom and human rights violations in China. They’re not talking about the fact that I was in England, working on a conservative movement there - working with Margaret Thatcher, that’s why I was there - in trying to build a conservative movement in England.

I do a lot of things that require me to travel. We do it legally. Back then - particularly eight years ago, when I was talking about the Russia trip - back then, we were being criticized as a body for taking [congressional delegations on taxpayer-funded trips]. And so, I felt if somebody - a conservative organization - invites me to go on the efforts I just outlined, it’s better to go on that private money than on [taxpayer-funded trips]. And we did it all legally, fully disclosed who we went with. Now, if I’m responsible for each organization and if I have to go in any time I talk to a group and I have to go through their donor lists - which are not disclosable, by the way - and ask them to give me a list of their donors so I can decide whether to talk to you or not, I can’t do that.

Mr. Dinan: You have one of the most extensive and effective alumni employee network in Washington, and yet it seems you were late to realize the onslaught you were going to be facing. How much do you fight back.

Mr. DeLay: Well, first of all, we aren’t late to this. This started when the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] brought a [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] suit against me five or six years ago. We’ve been involved in this. Now it’s not as heated as it is now. I don’t have 18 to 20 news organizations that are spending full time on me back then. But this is a new - we haven’t done this before. Thanks to campaign-finance reform, the Democrats have been very good at using 527s and their ‘good government’ groups and all these groups and using them to develop a strategy to advance their agenda. No one’s had to deal with this before. So yeah, we’re late in getting our organizations together, but I feel pretty good about where we are right now in pushing back and telling the truth, which is really important.

Mr. Coombs: Why are 18 to 20 news organizations jumping through that hoop?

Mr. DeLay: I think you ought to ask them that. I think that’s a very good question to ask them - why they are spending all these resources just to print old news that’s been written. The same news has been written over the last 10 years, and they’re just simply printing the old news.

Now they failed to print the fact that admonishments are not a sanction of the House, that admonishments in this ethics committee - we don’t know if I’m the most admonished member of the House, because it used to be when you were admonished, in other words warned, that you ought to look at what you were doing, there was a private letter to you, undisclosed. This committee not only admonished me, but released all the facts of the admonishment, which is not a sanction, and they failed to report that all the charges [former Rep.] Chris Bell [Texas Democrat] brought against me were dismissed, and he was sanctioned for violating the House rules and using the ethics committee for political purposes.

Somebody ought to ask the New York Times why they’re shopping an op-ed piece. I mean, that’s activist journalism. Somebody ought to look at the organizations and ask the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Time, Newsweek, AP why they’re spending all these resources they are, who they talked to … are they collaborating with all these organizations that are funded by George Soros and his heavy hitters, and do these organizations ever talk to each other? Of course they do, they have people that are on the same boards. I mean, different boards but same people.

Mr. Hallow: Let me ask you about why Sen. Santorum told you to come clean.

Mr. DeLay: Santorum answered it properly.

Mr. Hallow: He did?

Mr. DeLay: Absolutely. I appreciate what he said. Everything he said. There is nothing wrong with what he said. He did not attack me, nor did he remove himself from me.

Mr. Dinan: But he did encourage you to come forward.

Mr. DeLay: I have been coming forward, and he did it in the context of the way to fight this is to come forward, which is exactly what I have been doing. In fact, I am putting together the entire case and everything that we have, and I’m going to give it to the ethics committee and ask them to look at it.

Mr. Dinan: You’ve been talking about that for a few weeks. How do you do that specifically?

Mr. DeLay: First of all, you have to go to present conditions. The Democrats don’t want an ethics committee for two reasons. One, they know that all of this is privileged and that the only way I can be cleared is through the ethics committee, so they don’t want one. Secondly, one of their best friends, [Rep.] Jim McDermott [Washington Democrat], is being investigated, and they don’t want him to be kicked out of Congress. I mean, this guy has been found guilty - guilty by a court of law - and they don’t want an ethics committee.

What the speaker [of the House] did, I did not do. I had no contact with the speaker when he was working on the rules changes, I had no contact with the speaker when his choices of who goes on the committee - I want to get that very clear. What the speaker did, though, is recognize that the Democrats used the rules of the House to politicize the ethics committee. The Chris Bell issue is a perfect example of that. And it’s because of a quirk in the rules that Democrats found and used, and that is, if they don’t vote, then you’re held in limbo. And all we did was change the rule that said in order to go to the investigative subcommittee, you have to have an affirmative vote of the committee, which means a majority. That’s all he did. And, two other process provisions: One, you are allowed to have your lawyer, not a lawyer picked by the ethics committee, to represent you. And two, go back to this admonishment thing. When we were admonished, [Rep.] Candice Miller [Michigan Republican] and I were admonished, first of all we didn’t know we were the subject of the investigation, and secondly we had no right to plead our case. They did not ask us, they just admonished us and turned out the stuff to the public. That is absolutely contrary to the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Dinan: In terms of going to the committee with all of the information, how do you see that happening? What’s the mechanism?

Mr. DeLay: The mechanism is, the chairman and the ranking member look at the facts and determine whether they ought to recommend to the committee to proceed with an investigative subcommittee.

Mr. Dinan: You’ll provide them with all the documents and yourself as well?

Mr. DeLay: Absolutely. I’ve been trying to do this for four weeks. I sent them two letters. But [Rep.] Alan Mollahan [West Virginia Democrat] does not want - and we’ll see if he’ll sit down, look at the facts and talk to me as his appointed position dictates him to do, or is he more interested in politics.

Mr. Hurt: When the committee admonished you for the 2002 fundraiser, you said you accepted their guidance. How have you changed the manner in which you’ve raised money since then?

Mr. DeLay: Well, first and foremost, I agree that perception now is a new standard for me, and that’s what this was about, was perception. And everything we do, we add a new standard when we are doing our job, no matter whether it’s in policy, or outside, or whatever we’re doing, a new standard is: ‘What is it going to look like on the front page of The Washington Times?’ And that perception is incredibly important, and so we discuss it and we deal with it that way.

First of all, there was nothing wrong with that fundraiser, any different than fundraisers all over this country. I’m not saying everybody does it. The point is there’s nothing wrong with it. There was nothing wrong in this case. I accept their guidance. I don’t accept their admonishment. I don’t accept the way it was done, because I had no due process, and it was put out into the public. Now my admonishments are treated as if I was convicted of a felony in the press. And secondly, there is nothing wrong in having fundraisers or going on trips or meeting with the lobbyists or citizens of any ilk. They have a right to petition the government. And there’s nothing that connects me with that fundraiser, and I don’t do this, and any policy decisions or votes. Now they’re trying to do that.

Secondly, I was admonished for calling up the [Federal Aviation Administration] for information I could get on the internet. I was called by a constituent, as I see it, the speaker of the House of the Texas Legislature, wanting me to find an airplane, and gave me the tail number. I asked a staffer to do it, called it up, there’s nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing unethical about that. My job is to interface with the federal government. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s on the internet. What I should have done is turned around to my internet and looked it up.

Mr. Dinan: You said perception is a new standard. Do you believe you crossed the line in perception in that instance?

Mr. DeLay: No, absolutely not. I am doing my job. These Democrats were breaking Texas law [by leaving the state to prevent the Legislature from passing a redistricting plan].

Mr. Blankley: Is there any public procedure you can use to show Democrats have frozen the ethics committee?

I have been wrongly accused for five to six years of frivolous things, we have beaten back all of those frivolous things. This stuff that’s in the press is frivolous, and the only way I know to vindicate myself is through the ethics process.

Mr. Hurt: Have you ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, your use of government authority or with fundraising?

Mr. DeLay: Ever is a very strong word. Let me start out by saying, you can never find anything that I have done for personal gain. Period. What I’m doing is what I believe in, I’m doing it the way I believe in it. Yes, I’m aggressive. I’m passionate about what I believe in, and I’m passionate about winning and accomplishing our agenda. I know since 1995 that everything that we have done has been checked by lawyers, double-checked by lawyers, triple-checked by lawyers, because I know I have been watched and investigated probably more than even Bill Clinton. They can’t find anything, so they’re going back to my childhood, going to my family, going to things that happened eight years ago. There’s nothing there. And they can keep looking. There’s nothing there. I have tried to act ethically, I have tried to act honestly. I have tried to keep my reputation - to fight for my reputation - while it’s been besmirched, and I have tried to do it in a way that brings honor to the House.

Mr. Hallow: Is there anything you want to change in perception about what you’re asking on judges?

Mr. DeLay: Look, I’m for an independent judiciary. I don’t know where they get this. When you attack the left’s legislative body, they get really upset. But I’m for an independent judiciary. I’m for an independent Congress. I’m for an independent executive. But the Constitution of the United States gives us responsibility for oversight and checks and balances over the executive as well as the judiciary. And we all know that this judiciary is extremely active. I have asked the Judiciary Committee to look at it and give recommendations as to what we ought to do. Read the book Men in Black.

Mr. Dinan: You’ve been talking about going after activist judges since at least 1997. The [Terri] Schiavo case gives you a chance to do that, but you’ve recently said you blame Congress for not being zealous in oversight.

Mr. DeLay: Not zealous. I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that’s nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn’t stop them.

Mr. Dinan: How can Congress stop them?

Mr. DeLay: There’s all kinds of ways available to them.

Mr. Dinan: You tried two last year on the Defense of Marriage Act and the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Senate didn’t go along with those.

Mr. DeLay: We’re having to change a whole culture in this - a culture created by law schools. People really believe that these are nine gods, and that all wisdom is vested in them. This means it’s a slow, long-term process. I mean, we passed six bills out of the House limiting jurisdiction. We passed an amendment last September breaking up the Ninth Circuit. These are all things that have passed the House of Representatives.

Mr. Dinan: Are you going to pursue impeaching judges?

Mr. DeLay: I’m not going to answer that. I have asked the Judiciary Committee to look at this. They’re going to start holding hearings on different issues. They are more capable than me to look at this issue and take responsibility, given the, whatever, the Constitution.

Mr. Hallow: The president told [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon no more settlements.

Mr. DeLay: You’re not going to get me in a fight with the president.

Mr. Coombs: In today’s Republican conference, you’re saying they are solidly behind you?

Mr. DeLay: I feel their support. It is absolutely incredibly energizing and confidence-building, and more importantly heartwarming, the expressions of support members have given to me, not just individually but corporately in the conference.

Mr. Coombs: You don’t see a lessening of support?

Mr. DeLay: Not at all.

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