From: Janet Moore
Subject: Helms Faces A Deadline On Weld Meeting By Today
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) faces a deadline today to respond to the Sep. 5 petition by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and three other senators requesting a special committee meeting to discuss the nomination of former Massachussets Gov. William Weld to be ambassador to Mexico.
If Helms does not respond to the petition, Lugar has the 10 votes to call for a special meeting.
At this time Helms has not responded and is not expected to do so.
Lugar's office will not say what would follow. If he pushes a meeting, Helms has the power to control the agenda. The question remains how far the committee wants to rebel against the chairman.
Weld, who has continued to press his case for a hearing on Capitol Hill, said today he thinks he is making headway.
"I think we're making a little bit of progress," Weld told NBC's "Today" show. "A majority of the members of the committee have stated in writing over the past couple of months that they favor a hearing. A majority of members of the United States Senate have said that they favor a hearing."
Helms considers Weld soft on illegal drugs, a flash point in U.S.-Mexico relations, and opposes Weld's advocacy of the medicinal use of marijuana.
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