According to a letter floating around in Democratic circles, the Congressional Black Caucus will stage a walkout during today’s House vote on contempt charges for Attorney General Eric Holder in a symbolic display of their disapproval for the measure, The Hill Reports.
House Republicans refused to back down and call off contempt proceedings as they, and even some Democrats, claim Holder has failed to comply with a congressional subpoena regarding documents related to the the flawed gunrunning operation “Fast and Furious.”
“We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an attorney general who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people,” the Black Caucus members wrote in the letter, later acquired by various news outlets. “We cannot and will not participate in a vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt.”
More from The Hill:
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.
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 Boehner (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.
Business Insider reports the letter was also sent to the Hispanic, Asian and Progressive Caucuses, which apparently urged members to join the Black Caucus in the walkout and a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Building.
There will be two hours and 20 minutes allotted for debate during today’s hearing before the full House votes on criminal and civil contempt charges against Holder.