Pelosi: Holder contempt vote a 'diversion' from transportation, student loans talks

Pelosi also accused Republicans of targeting Holder to prevent him from blocking states from purging voters from their registration rolls, which critics have argued is intended to disenfranchise typically-Democratic voters.

Republicans have said Holder should be placed in contempt of Congress because voters have a right to know about the gun operation that resulted in the death of a U.S. agent.

"Congress … has a responsibility to the American people to learn the truth about what happened in Fast and Furious," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who replaced Pelosi at the helm of the lower chamber, said during a news conference of his own Thursday.

"The Obama administration, however, has stonewalled Congress' legitimate oversight responsibilities to find out how and why it made these false claims," Boehner continued. "The decision to invoke executive privilege is an admission that White House officials were involved in decisions that misled the Congress, and have covered up the truth. So what is the Obama administration hiding in Fast and Furious?" 

Boehner defended the House's stance in the contentious negotiations of the highway bill Thursday, saying that the GOP wants a deal just as badly as Democrats.

"House Republicans want to get a highway bill done," Boehner said. "We just want to make sure it's a bill that includes real reforms to ensure that taxpayer funds are paying for legitimate projects that support economic activity, not planting more flowers in beautification projects around the country."