Dem move to kill Benghazi Committee fails

Dem move to kill Benghazi Committee fails
© Anne Wernikoff

House Democrats launched a failed bid to dismantle the Select Committee on Benghazi, in light of renewed criticism of the committee.

During a Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday evening, Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterSeven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter Breaking through the boys club Sotomayor, Jane Fonda inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.) attempted to attach an amendment to shut down the committee to another piece of legislation creating a new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood.

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The amendment would have eliminated the language creating a new Planned Parenthood subcommittee within the Energy and Commerce Committee and replaced it with language to abolish the Benghazi panel, her office said.

The measure from Slaughter — the top Democrat on the Rules panel, which sets House's schedule — failed on a partly line vote 7-2.

Still, it represents the first official action from Democrats to strike down the committee, more than a year after it was created and a week after high profile comments expected next House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Democrats were quick to jump on McCarthy’s remarks last week, which gave the committee credit for doing political damage to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Multiple Democrats called for the committee to be shut down, and leaders openly toyed with whether or not to abandon it in protest.

Democrats “knew from the beginning” that the Benghazi panel “would be used to politicize that tragedy,” Slaughter said on Tuesday.

“What we didn’t know was that the majority would ever admit to it. And then last week House Speaker-in-waiting Kevin McCarthy accidentally told the truth.”

The probe into Planned Parenthood “is another useless exercise of brain power, staff power, everything that we do in this Congress where we hold up our hand and we swear that we’re going to uphold the law,” Slaughter concluded.

“I do believe what we’re doing today is very serious,” Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) shot back. “I believe it is well within the jurisdiction of what we do.”

“I believe that there are serious questions which have properly been raised,” Sessions added, in reference to the Benghazi committee.

“The characterization by a member of this body, as we all can do to make characterizations about the work that is performed, they can be held accountable for,” he said. “But the actual work — the product, the nature, the detail and the professionalism that this select committee is doing — I believe has brought honor and respect.”

McCarthy dug in his defense of the committee on Tuesday, saying that its mission is “to find the truth.”

—Updated at 9:26 p.m.