WASHINGTON - Roger Clemens should know by the end of the week if Congress will ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the star pitcher or his accuser made false statements under oath.
Clemens's lawyer says they knew long ago that is where things probably were headed.
The majority and minority sides of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met yesterday to discuss how to proceed on the Clemens matter.
"I can't say anything about discussions today," Phil Schiliro, chief of staff for committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "Our goal is a decision this week."
Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis of Virginia spoke with each other during a committee hearing about missing White House e-mails. When that hearing ended, Davis headed for the majority side's offices, rather than the minority side, as is customary.
Keith Ausbrook, Republican general counsel for the committee, wrote: "We will be consulting with the Democrats on what to do next. I cannot comment on any specific meeting or step."
At issue is whether Congress might have been lied to by Clemens or his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee.
McNamee says he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times between 1998 and 2001. Clemens denies ever taking performance-enhancing drugs. Both men stuck to their stories under oath at depositions with committee lawyers and then at a Feb. 13 hearing, where the questioning by representatives ran mostly along party lines.
Congress got involved after hearing Clemens vigorously and repeatedly deny McNamee's allegations after they appeared in former Senate majority leader George Mitchell's report on drug use in baseball.
Congress may decide to ask the Justice Department to investigate one man, both - or neither. And then the Justice Department can opt to open an inquiry or drop the matter altogether.
"I haven't heard anything, one way or the other. We're not waiting with bated breath," said Clemens's lead attorney, Rusty Hardin. "We always assumed that there would be the very real possibility of a referral if Roger testified differently than the Mitchell Report. We will be neither surprised if they do nor surprised if they don't."
Clemens, meanwhile, is getting set to do what he does best: throw baseballs. He showed up at the Houston Astros' spring training site in Kissimmee, Fla., and refused to answer questions about what is happening in Washington.
"Everything's been said that needs to be said on that," Clemens said. "We're moving forward. It's baseball time."
He will pitch batting practice to minor leaguers today through Friday.
While one House committee is still trying to decide what to do about Clemens and McNamee, another is set to haul officials from Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL, the NCAA and the Olympics up to Capitol Hill today to discuss drugs in sports.
Commissioners Bud Selig, Roger Goodell, David Stern, and Gary Bettman, along with their leagues' union heads, are among the witnesses slated to testify before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.