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House grants Rep. Anthony Weiner leave of absence

June 13, 2011|By Kathleen Hennessey
(Yuri Gripas, Reuters )

The House of Representatives has granted Rep. Anthony Weiner a two-week leave of absence, even as the top House Democrat made clear that the beleaguered New York congressman was not wanted back at the Capitol.

The request for a leave was approved Monday evening by unanimous consent. Shortly after, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi repeated her call for Weiner's resignation and told reporters that she hoped her colleague "will hear this and know that it's in his best interest for him to leave Congress."

Her comments came a hours after President Obama made his first remarks about Weiner’s sexting scandal. The president said that if he were in the congressman's position, "I would resign."

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The statements were meant to pile on the pressure for Weiner, who has resisted repeated calls for his resignation since he first acknowledged engaging in sexual and graphic online exchanges with women he met through his Twitter account.

Pelosi, who first called for Weiner's resignation on Saturday, said Monday night that if Weiner did not resign, his role in Congress would not return to normal. Asked whether she planned to strip him of his committee assignments, she said, "This is beyond that."

"If we are asking him to leave, we certainly not going to welcome him here with committee assignments," she said.

Leaves of absence are routine in the House. A request is typically submitted by another member for a perfunctory vote. Rep. Michael Capuano, (D-Mass.) requested Weiner's leave.

The request is largely a formality. Members typically continue to receive pay and benefits even when they miss a series of votes.

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