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President Clinton will likely avoid impeachment in an investigation that "has gone too far and is way out of control," Rep. Jack Quinn said here Monday.

"Knowing what we know today, the whole suggestion of impeachment by Republicans is running out of gas," Quinn, a Hamburg Republican, said during an appearance at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School. "I don't think there's enough interest in Congress to vote for impeachment."

Quinn predicted that the House Judiciary Committee will approve articles of impeachment by a party-line vote, but that the effort is likely to falter in the full House, and therefore never get to the Senate.

At the same time, Quinn said, Congress may take some lesser action against Clinton for apparently lying under oath.

"I think yes, censure (or) rebuke is a possibility," Quinn told the approximately 350 students at the Catholic high school on McKinley Parkway.

As part of a group of more than 20 moderate Republicans, Quinn has become a central figure in the impeachment process. Without the support of those centrist members, the House of Representatives is unlikely to vote for impeachment.

Quinn voted last month to authorize an impeachment inquiry, but stressed at the time that he was simply supporting the hearings and not a particular outcome.

Earlier this month, the former Orchard Park English teacher said he opposes impeachment.

"If I had to vote today, I would vote no," he said then.

Quinn stuck to that position on Monday, saying he will oppose impeachment unless dramatic new evidence surfaces.

"The American people are trying to say they want this behind them," said Quinn, a 1969 graduate of Bishop Timon.

"These things -- this whole process -- has really complicated work for us in Washington," he told the students.

Although Quinn devoted his talk to the impeachment process, most of the questions that followed from students and teachers were about other matters, including the legacy of Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, who is stepping down as House speaker.

"He'll be remembered for balancing the first federal budget in decades, a very, very difficult thing to do," Quinn said. "On the other hand, he'll be viewed as being extreme."

Quinn reminisced about his days at Bishop Timon, speaking from the basketball court where he played. "I think I scored a grand total of six points," he joked.

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