By Jordy Yager - 06/27/12 10:57 PM EDT
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderEric Holder to headline fundraiser for Clinton The Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE in contempt of Congress.
The CBC is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the details of the walkout and is planning to circulate a letter to House Democrats requesting that they join them on the Capitol steps for a press conference during the contempt vote.
The walkout is reminiscent of a similar move made by Republicans in 2008 during a Democratic-led vote on whether to hold two senior staffers in President George W. Bush’s administration in contempt of Congress.
House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return GOP senator: Reid's 'ramblings' are 'bitter, vulgar, incoherent' MORE (R-Ohio) — then the minority leader — led the walkout with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) following closely behind him. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is the sponsor of the contempt resolution against Holder.
“The House floor is the scene of a partisan, political stunt,” said BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return GOP senator: Reid's 'ramblings' are 'bitter, vulgar, incoherent' MORE at the time. House Democrats have been expressing similar comments about the Holder contempt measure.
On Wednesday evening, in a last-minute effort to stop the vote, Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeePelosi: ‘We must and we will bring back’ Nigerian schoolgirls Big bucks spent honoring lawmakers Black caucus treads carefully into Apple-FBI fight MORE (D-Texas) hand-delivered a letter to Boehner signed by 65 Democrats who asked the Speaker to cancel the contempt resolution.
“The House Leadership’s actions are destructive election-year politics pure and simple," said Jackson Lee in a statement.
The House Rules Committee reported the contempt resolution on Wednesday along party lines, designating 2 hours and 20 minutes of time for floor debate on Thursday.
Issa has led Congress’s investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, a program that might have contributed to the killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010.
At the center of the dispute is a letter that the Justice Department sent last year to Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDefense bill renews fight over military sexual assault Reid knocks GOP over 'light' Senate schedule Overnight Tech: Facebook finds no bias but vows to change trending feature MORE (R-Iowa) stating the agency does everything in its power to stop guns from going into Mexico. Ten months later, the DOJ took the rare step of withdrawing the letter because of false information.
Issa subpoenaed Holder for documents related to the DOJ letter, but the attorney general has refused to fully comply.
— This story was updated at 7:07 p.m.