WASHINGTON - Congress' march against the White House isn't being driven solely by Democrats.
Republicans supported some of the subpoenas approved yesterday for administration officials and documents - and an immunity grant - on Democratic-led probes into the firings of federal prosecutors and the White House's political activities.
Ten of 16 Republicans present on the House Judiciary Committee voted to grant Monica Goodling, once Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' White House liaison, immunity from prosecution for details on the firings.
Republicans on the panel allowed to pass, without a recorded vote, a measure giving Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the authority to issue a subpoena compelling her to testify, should Conyers see fit.
Across the Capitol, Senate Republicans let another subpoena authorization - this time for White House political adviser Karl Rove's deputy, Sara Taylor - pass the Judiciary Committee on voice vote.
And they barely restrained their disdain for Gonzales - despite President Bush's fresh vote of support for his longtime friend - after the attorney general 71 times claimed a faulty memory about the firings during the Senate panel's hearing last week.
The top Republican on that panel, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, co-signed a letter to Gonzales demanding that he refresh his memory and answer the questions within a week.
"We are reviewing this request," said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.
From one end of Capitol Hill to the other, Republicans joined Democrats to approve new investigatory tools to be used against the administration, reflecting their simmering resentment against a White House whose decisions helped drive the GOP into the minority.
To be sure, Democrats still dominated the committee agendas. Republicans stuck together against a subpoena for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Still, it passed the House oversight committee along party lines, 21-10, compelling her to testify on Bush's prewar claim, now discredited, that Iraq was seeking uranium to make a bomb.
For its part, the administration pushed back, refusing to allow White House officials to testify under oath on the firings and arguing that Rice had repeatedly testified on the uranium issue under White House guidelines that shield some communications under executive privilege.
But on the firings and Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department, Republicans barely held back their frustration. Most did not call outright for his resignation, but they also made clear they saw few reasons for Gonzales to stay. If he does, Gonzales will face tough going in any effort to get a legislative agenda passed or gain much protection from Republicans on oversight concerns, Republicans said.
Making their majority matter, Democrats said they were reviving Congress' oversight role after six years of little oversight of the Bush administration by Republican lawmakers. *