New chairman says no to A-Rod hearing

WASHINGTON -- Alex Rodriguez won't be appearing on Capitol Hill anytime soon.

The new chairman of the congressional committee that asked Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro about steroids in baseball in recent years said Tuesday he does not think lawmakers need to hear from Rodriguez in the aftermath of an admission he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003.

"The American people need leaders who will focus on stemming job losses and getting credit to flow in the marketplace before hearing from yet another person who cheated both himself and the game of baseball," said House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Edolphus Towns, a Democrat from New York.

Towns does plan to monitor baseball's drug-testing policy and did not rule out the possibility of hearings down the road.

Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site Saturday that Rodriguez was among 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, when testing was intended to determine the extent of drug use in baseball.

Rodriguez acknowledged Monday in an interview with ESPN that he used banned substances while playing with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003 to justify the 10-year, $252 million contract that made him baseball's highest-paid player.

"The news that another one of baseball's premier players -- in addition to another 103 unnamed players -- used performance-enhancing drugs is disturbing and sends yet another horrible message to our young people," Towns said.

This committee is the same one that last year heard Clemens deny using steroids or human growth hormone. And in 2005, it heard McGwire repeatedly state that he was not going to talk about the past and Palmeiro deny using steroids.

Palmeiro failed a drug test and was suspended by baseball later that year. In trying to determine whether Palmeiro lied to Congress, the committee interviewed one of his teammates, Miguel Tejada, about steroids in baseball.

Tejada was charged Tuesday with lying to Congress when he denied knowing that a former teammate with the Oakland Athletics used performance-enhancing drugs.

A grand jury has been asked to determine whether Clemens should be indicted on charges of lying to Congress.