Black Caucus chairman vows 'something dramatic' during Holder contempt vote

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"We don't want history to record that we participated in something that was so silly and so detrimental to one person," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told CNN on Thursday, adding Republican actions had forced his caucus to consider doing "something dramatic."


The Missouri congressman accused Republicans of succumbing to "pathological partisanship" and said the move to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-tracking program "has absolutely no value to the republic."

"Some of us just don't want to observe an injustice taking place. Eric Holder is a good and decent man and shouldn't get caught up in this presidential political season," Cleaver said.

Cleaver would not say how many Democrats he expected to leave the chamber during the vote, but said he didn't expect that party leadership would exit with his supporters. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House's No. 3 Democrat, is a member of the CBC.

"I doubt seriously that will happen, because they'll be needed on the floor," Cleaver said.

The move is not without precedent. House Republicans walked out of a 2008 vote to hold a pair of Bush administration officials in contempt of Congress.