It was a 1-for-2 day for the Obama administration as the House found Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress by a vote of 255-67.
Seventeen Democrats crossed over to vote for the resolution, while Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) voted “present.” Two Republicans voted “no” — Reps. Steve LaTourette (Ohio) and Scott Rigell (Va.).
Democrats voting for the resolution were Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kathy Hochul (N.Y.), Ron Kind (Wis.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Mike Ross (Ark.), and Tim Walz (Minn.).
And as promised, the Congressional Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific American and Progressive caucuses, along with other members of the Democratic Caucus, walked out on the vote.
But the real show was the face-off between House leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the contempt resolution “stunning,” lamenting that Holder was spending his energy — “psychic, intellectual, and time — dealing with this unprincipled effort” by Republicans.
She said that she was deliberating whether to stay and vote “no” or walk out with the CBC, adding she was “very moved” by their effort. “How else can we impress upon the American people without scaring them about what is happening here?”
“It’s Eric Holder one day,” Pelosi said. “You don’t know who it is the next.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “the only recourse left for the House” was to move forward with the contempt resolution.
“Frankly, I hoped it would never come to this,” he said. “The House’s focus is on jobs and the economy. But no Justice Department is above the law.”
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the average amount of time for the House to consider previous contempt resolutions has been 87 days. The Oversight committee sent the resolution to the House just last week.
“I think this investigation has been extraordinarily superficial,” Hoyer said.
“I believe that the political motivations behind this resolution are clear and pose a clear and present danger to this nation,” he added.