Republicans say Attorney General Eric Holder is withholding documents that could show a coverup. Democrats say the investigation is a witch hunt. The outcome? Likely, more delay.
In a debate and vote that was emotional, rhetorically explosive, and bitterly divisive – even by congressional standards – the House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Fast and Furious gun-walking debacle. The House held Mr. Holder in contempt on two separate votes of 255 to 67 on criminal charges and 258 to 95 on civil charges.
Seventeen Democrats joined all but two House Republicans on the first vote, while 21 Democrats joined a united Republican front for the second. The National Rifle Association’s announcement that it will score the vote on on its annual ratings of members of Congress pressured Democrats from conservative-leaning districts to favor the measure.
Several dozen Democratic members led by the Congressional Black Caucus but including the party leaders like minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and House whip Steny Hoyer walked out of the House chamber in protest, holding a press conference on the House lawn where they derided the vote as a “ridiculous partisan stunt.” More than 100 Democrats did not vote on the first measure, while 70 were absent for the second.
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