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Vote on bill postponed, following House fracas

Capitol Police called to hearing on Friday

From Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau

Partisan bickering heated up when Capitol Police were called to a congressional hearing on Friday.
Partisan bickering heated up when Capitol Police were called to a congressional hearing on Friday.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- To allow tempers on both sides of the aisle to cool, House Republican leaders will put off until after the August recess a vote on a pension reform bill that was at the center of an unusually bitter committee fight Friday, Republican aides told CNN.

"What happened Friday wasn't good for anyone," said one GOP leadership aide explaining that "feelings were hurt" and relations between Democrats and Republicans were "made worse" when Republicans summoned Capitol police to the hearing of the Ways and Means Committee. (Full story)

Republicans contend police were called when it appeared Rep. Pete Stark, D-California, was physically threatening Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colorado -- a charge Stark denies.

Democrats say Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-California, called the police to evict them from the committee's library where they were discussing strategy to block the GOP-backed pension legislation.

The fight spilled over onto the House floor where Democrats and Republicans traded charges over what happened at the committee hearing.

Thomas, who is known for his no-holds-barred leadership style, can expect an earful this week from GOP leaders who considered the events "embarrassing and tough," a leadership aide said. "It probably wouldn't have gotten as far as it did if any other chairman had handled it in a similar manner."

"He might have overreacted," another aide said.

However, it is unlikely Thomas will lose his chairmanship over the matter. "I have not heard talk of removal," one aide said.

"Are they gonna fire Stark?" a GOP aide asked.

Meantime, Democrats are considering whether to request a formal investigation or ask the House Ethics Committee for guidance as to when it is appropriate for Capitol Police to be called into committee disagreements.

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