Embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) will temporarily step down from key committee posts amid Senate Republican leadership calls for his resignation in the wake of his arrest by an undercover police detective investigating lewd conduct in a men’s room at the Minneapolis Airport.

“Sen. Larry Craig has agreed to comply with leadership’s request that he temporarily step down as the top Republican on the Veteran Affairs Committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, and Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands,” the Republican leadership said Wednesday. “This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee.”

In Craig’s work on energy issues, the senator has been a strong supporter of next-generation nuclear facilities and hydroelectric plant licensing.

The decision to strip Craig of committee assignments came after Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, where Craig was arrested for disorderly conduct, called for his resignation from the Senate.

“My opinion is that when you plead guilty to a crime, you shouldn’t serve. That’s not a moral stand. That’s not a holier-than-thou. It’s just a factual situation,” McCain told CNN.

Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, first broke the story earlier this week about Craig’s arrest during an undercover police operation that was looking into reports of lewd behavior in the airport’s men’s room. The senator was arrested in June and pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct earlier this month. He paid a fine and was put on probation.

©Copyright 2007Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.