Black caucus to stage walkout during Holder contempt vote in House

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules 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. 

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The move comes less than 24 hours before the House plans to vote for the first time in history to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena. Holder is the first black attorney general in U.S. history.

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 Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible 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 Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible 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 LeeWhat the impeachment vote looked like from inside the chamber No experience required: US hiring immigration judges who don't have any immigration law experience Trump administration restricts travel from Nigeria and five other countries 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law 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.