Seven Dems vote to create Benghazi panel

Seven Democrats broke ranks and voted with Republicans to establish a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic annex in Benghazi, Libya.

Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) all voted for the resolution. Six of them face tough reelection races this year.

McIntyre, who frequently crosses party lines on crucial votes, is retiring.

Meanwhile, Barber, Barrow, Murphy, Peterson and Rahall represent districts that voted for Mitt Romney for president in 2012.

All except Sinema also voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.

Sinema said after the vote Thursday that the committee was "a good idea."

"I'm deeply saddened by these tragic events and believe the American people deserve to know what happened on that fateful day," she said. "People in my district and across the country demand answers, and this committee will help provide an explanation of what took place." 

Sinema represents a swing district but is considered less vulnerable than the other Democrats who voted for the Benghazi panel.

After the vote, the National Republican Campaign Committee offered a preview of attacks against Democrats who voted against creating the Benghazi panel.

"It’s been almost two years since the terrorist attack and because of [Democrats and their] allies in the Obama administration, we are no closer to finding answers," NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said in a statement.

— Russell Berman contributed.

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