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NJ Assembly Approves Special Joint Committee To Probe NJ Bridge Scandal

By Cleve Bryan

TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) -- The New Jersey state legislature has formed a new joint bipartisan committee to investigate the George Washington Bridge scandal.

The lane closures caused massive traffic jams and raised questions about Governor Chris Christie's involvement.

They finalized these plans to combine both the senate and the assembly committees into one joint committee to investigate the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal. Lawmakers say this is going to be more fast and more cost effective, but some people question if it is truly a bipartisan effort.

READ: CBSPhilly Complete Coverage of NJ Bridge Scandal

New Jersey lawmakers met Monday to keep the ball rolling with the investigation into the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal.

While all agree it's important work, the how and who took center stage on the assembly floor during debate about forming a joint investigative committee. Republicans are concerned they're not being properly included, making up just four out of 12 seats in the committee.

"Most of my members would like a committee that's completely bi-partisan such as the Ethics Committee which is 50-50 and then at the end of the day we could stand up and say we did this together," Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said.

While the special committee is tasked with getting to the bottom of the Fort Lee traffic jam, lawmakers pointed out its possible allegations of abuse in Hoboken could also be addressed.

The Mayor of Hoboken claims the Lt. Governor threatened to withhold Sandy relief funds if the mayor didn't support a development project (See Related Story). The Christie administration denies the allegation.

(Bryan:) "Has there been subpoenas specifically issued about Hoboken?"

"No, the committee is concentrating its work right now on the George Washington Bridge," Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said.

Despite some failed amendments, the resolutions to form the joint committee passed both chambers easily.

"This is not a witch hunt. We know one thing for certain, there has been an abuse of power. We all know that. What we don't know is where the abuse of power began and how deep it goes," Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) said.

 The subpoenas are supposed to be returned next week with the information that has been requested. But we may not be able to publicly find out the information until there has been a chance to review all that and call in people for questioning.

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