House to vote on Holder contempt resolution
A little more than a week after the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee voted Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over failing to disclose documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal, House Republicans have scheduled a vote to come before the full chamber on Thursday:
A spokeswoman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed on Monday that the vote is scheduled for Thursday. Republicans have said the vote could be postponed if Holder complies with subpoenas issued by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but President Obama has invoked executive privilege to shield Holder from releasing them.
The vote will likely coincide with a Supreme Court ruling on Obama’s healthcare law. That ruling is likely to overshadow the House vote, but a contempt citation could compound a politically disastrous day for Obama if the court overturns the healthcare law.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who is responsible for whipping votes in his caucus, conceded yesterday that there will be some members of his party in the House that vote for the contempt resolution. Hoyer says that since the National Rifle Association (NRA) is scoring the vote, those in tough re-election bids where gun rights are a big deal need the good marks.
The vote also marks the beginning of an important debate over executive power in Congress. Over the years we’ve seen presidents consume a substantial amount of power. This was exacerbated after 9/11 under George W. Bush thanks to the expansion of the surveillance state and other questionable tactics and has been taken further by President Barack Obama, who unilaterally undertook military action in Libya without congressional approval (Mitt Romney has taken a more concerning position) and essentially implented a major part of the DREAM Act on his own.
Whether or not Republicans realize this problem doesn’t end with a Democratic president remains to be seen, but Thursday promises to be a day of fireworks with the ObamaCare decision coming down from the Supreme Court, and now the contempt resolution against Holder coming to the House floor.