WASHINGTON — Partisan acrimony broke out on the House floor today after Democrats sought to extend the life of the House Iran-Contra investigating committee through next year.
Republicans said the Democrats' move was a political gambit aimed at influencing presidential politics in 1988.
"This has sparked again the strong feelings of anger at the tyrannical tactics we have had to live with all year," said House Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.). "There are a lot of bad feelings toward (Speaker) Jim Wright's tactics here in the House."
Cheney Waves Arms
The Democratic proposal led to a heated and animated half-hour argument in the center of the House floor that delayed the chamber's business. Rep. Dick Cheney (R-Wyo.), the senior GOP member of the House Iran committee, could be seen waving his arms and stabbing with his finger at a copy of the panel's completed report as he sparred with House Majority Leader Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.).
"They were more heated than I've ever seen them," said one Republican aide who witnessed the confrontation.
Without further action, the House investigating committee will go out of existence at midnight Sunday. Panel members say it must be kept alive with at least a skeleton staff to handle the disposition of mounds of documents the committee has accumulated.