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Congress Calls On Major League Baseball to Eliminate Steroids

Some of Major League Baseball's top players have appeared at a U.S. congressional hearing on the use of performance enhancing steroids.

The hearing was called after members of Congress criticized baseball's new anti-steroid policy as too weak. The agreement, yet to be ratified, toughens some sanctions but allows monetary fines instead of suspensions for a first offense.

Baseball enjoys a special exemption and tax status in the United States because the sport, known as "America's Pastime," has a significant place in American cultural history. Congress has considered withdrawing baseball's special status if it does not institute heavier anti-doping policies.

Former St. Louis first baseman Mark McGwire told the House of Representatives' Government Reform Committee that steroid use is a problem, but he would not "name names" of players. Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro told the panel that he never used steroids.

Former star player Jose Canseco, who in a recent book acknowledged using steroids and named other players who he said used them, told the committee he could not answer all its questions without immunity from prosecution. The revelations have sparked debate over the legitimacy of baseball records achieved with the use of steroids.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.