During a House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his refusal to full cooperate in an investigation regarding the fatally flawed Fast and Furious “gun-walking” operation, several Democratic lawmakers walked out.
Despite many Democrats’ unwillingness to participate, by a vote of 255-67 the House passed the resolution to hold Holder in Contempt of Congress.
The Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement explaining why its members walked out:
We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an attorney general who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people. We must reflect upon why we are elected to this body and choose now to stand up for justice. We call upon all members of Congress to stand with us during a press conference on the Capitol Building steps during this appalling series of votes to discuss our nation’s most significant priority—creating jobs. At this critically important time in our nation, we must work as colleagues rather than political enemies.
The White House also released a statement echoing similar sentiments.
Currently, heated debate about the veracity of this unprecedented contempt vote is under way on the House floor. Republican lawmakers are making appeals for the power to move further with legal actions that would allow them to obtain the Fast and Furious documents that have been requested.
Holder has released a statement regarding the vote:
Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year. By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety. Instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations, and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement officers, like Agent Brian Terry, who keep us safe – they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome.
…When concerns about Operation Fast and Furious first came to light, I took action – and ordered an independent investigation into what happened. We learned that the flawed tactics used in this operation began in the previous administration – but I made sure that they ended under this one. I also made sure that agents and prosecutors around the country knew that such tactics must never be used again. I put in place new policies, new safeguards, and new leadership to make certain of this – and took extraordinary steps to facilitate robust congressional oversight. Let me be very clear – that was my response to Operation Fast and Furious. Any suggestion to the contrary simply ignores the facts.
The House also voted 258-95 to hold Holder in civil contempt, giving lawmakers the ability to seek counsel and appeal to a Federal court for a subpoena for the documents that have not yet been turned over to the House Oversight Committee.