GOP hits Holder on 'Fast and Furious,' pushes ban on Justice lying to Congress

House Republicans on Wednesday presented an amendment to a Department of Justice spending bill that would prevent Justice from using taxpayer funds to lie to Congress.

The bill, which is likely to pass, was presented by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and supported by several other Republicans who are outraged over a February 2011 letter from the department that denied any involvement in a gun-walking program. That program allowed guns to enter Mexico and fall into the hands of drug cartel members. 

Justice later retracted the letter and acknowledged that the so-called "Fast and Furious" program was flawed. Since then, Republicans have sought documents related to the operation, and accused Attorney General Eric Holder of stonewalling in response.

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"What is totally and wholly unacceptable … is that the Department of Justice would knowingly and willfully present a letter back to Congress on February 4 [2011], that was so inaccurate and so wrong," Chaffetz said. "They basically lied to Congress, and it took months and months and months and months to get to the point where they finally had to rescind that letter."

"They will not be … allowed to be able to use taxpayer funds, federal dollars, to knowingly, willfully skirt the law and lie to Congress," he said of his amendment.

One Democrat, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), said many believe Holder is "one of the best that's ever served in this position," and said he has punished those involved. But Republicans said there is no evidence that anyone has been punished or fired for Fast and Furious.

"No one has been punished," Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said. "There hasn't been a demotion, there hasn't been a firing, there hasn't been a sanction, there hasn't been a frowny-face on a performance evaluation."

"No other state has suffered consequences like we have in Arizona," Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said, while Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) said Congress should go further by defunding parts of Justice.

"We have got to cut off the money to the employees like Eric Holder who stonewall at best, and lie more likely," he said. 

On Tuesday night, the House voted to strip $1 million in funding from Justice in response to the Fast and Furious scandal.

The Chaffetz amendment would amend H.R. 5326, a bill making appropriations for Justice, the Commerce Department, NASA and other agencies. A vote on his amendment is expected early Wednesday evening.