WASHINGTON – Two congressmen looking for details about Rafael Palmeiro's (search) steroid suspension sent a list of questions to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Tuesday.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (search), a Florida Republican who introduced a bill to establish uniform drug programs in professional sports, and Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton (search), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, want Selig to provide information about Palmeiro's case, including a timeline.
The Baltimore Orioles' slugger was suspended Aug. 1 for failing a drug test.
"Commissioner Selig's been saying he has a strong drug policy and doesn't need Congress to interfere," Stearns said in a telephone interview from Florida. "We want to try and determine how to make our bill better, how it would be enforced, and what is the level of credibility that baseball and other sports have."
Palmeiro testified in March before another panel — the House Government Reform Committee — that he never used steroids. That panel is investigating whether Palmeiro committed perjury, and has Palmeiro's permission to obtain documents from Major League Baseball about that test.
In their letter, Stearns and Barton asked Selig a series of questions including when and by whom the Palmeiro tests were administered, when the positive results were known, when Palmeiro and the public were informed, how the arbitration process worked and whether there are any further penalties or obligations on the player after the suspension is concluded.
"It appears the current penalties under the program will not deter even those players with the most to lose," the lawmakers wrote.
Stearns proposed the Drug Free Sports Act, while House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (search), R-Va., and the ranking Democrat, Henry Waxman of California, introduced the Clean Sports Act. Both are based on the Olympic model and call for a two-year ban for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second.
The Drug Free Sports Act would give the secretary of commerce authority over sports' drug-testing policies; the other would give oversight to the White House drug czar.