Cheers and jeers.

(Politico) — The top two House Republican leaders are divided over how to handle the bubbling controversy surrounding Homeland Security Chairman Peter King’s hearing into “radicalization” in the American Muslim community.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress, is squarely behind King as he takes shots from civil libertarians and religious groups over his decision to target one group in his investigation of the causes of terrorism

“Chairman King works tirelessly to ensure that our homeland is secure, and following the tragic murders of U.S. soldiers in Germany by a radical Islamist, the Fort Hood murders committed by a radical Al Qaeda sympathizer and the recent arrest in Texas of a Saudi student planning jihad, this is certainly a relevant topic for committee consideration,” Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon said.

But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are keeping their distance from King, perhaps trying to avoid letting this issue become a distraction for the GOP majority.

“Chairman King is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee” is all Boehner spokesman Michael Steel would say when asked about the controversy. McCarthy’s office declined to comment.

It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the top. And that bell may well remain unrung if King follows through with his plan to hold a second hearing on the radicalization of Muslims in the American prison population.

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