— From NBC's Mike Viqueira
Some House Republican leaders are openly calling on Rep. Bob Ney (R) to quit Congress before his term expires on January 3, even as others grumble about a "double standard" being applied by Democrats. Ney's fellow Ohioan Deb Pryce told reporters this morning that she "believes very strongly that Bob Ney should resign" because he has "betrayed the trust" of the people of Ohio. Pryce chairs the House GOP Conference and, as First Read noted this morning, she herself is in a contested race for re-election. At the same presser where Pryce made her feelings known, Rep. David Dreier, the Rules Committee chair, also indicated he thinks it's time for Ney to step down.
At the same time, there is quiet grumbling among some Republicans about what they see as Democratic attempts to force Ney out, thereby depriving him of health and other benefits even as he undergoes alcohol rehab. They also see a double standard, noting that Ney has not officially appeared in court to make enter his plea and that no action should be taken against him until that event, now scheduled for October 13. Between now and then, they argue, Ney should be afforded the same benefit of the doubt that is accorded to embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D). Jefferson, he of the alleged $90,000 in bribe money found in the icebox, has not publicly admitted to wrongdoing.
So far, Democratic leaders have been content to sit back and watch the Ney case explode in GOP faces, and have not issued any public calls for him to leave Congress.