House Republicans Stage Walkout, Refuse To Vote On Contempt Charges

Today, House Democrats attempted to hold a vote on contempt charges for White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, who refused to respond to subpoenas in Congress’s investigation of the U.S. attorney scandal.

On the House floor today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) led Republicans in a walkout in protest of the contempt vote, alleging it is a “partisan fishing expedition.” The GOP is pushing for the House to approve the Senate’s version of the Protect America Act, which includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications firms. Boehner declared:

We will not stand for this, and we will not stay for this. And I would ask my House Republican colleagues and those who believe we should be protecting the American people, to not vote on this bill. Let’s just get up and leave. (Applause)

Watch Boehner’s remarks and the walkout:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/02/boehnerwalkout.320.240.flv]

Boehner led the GOP outside to the steps of the Capitol, where he held a press conference. He continued President Bush’s fearmongering by bellowing that the “number one objective as members of Congress is to protect the American people and if the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were to expire, Americans would be at risk.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/02/GOPFisaSteps.320.240.flv]

Boehner never mentions that his caucus voted against an extension of the Protect America Act yesterday, even though he is now threatening that “Americans would be at risk” if it expires.

UPDATE: Read House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) statement regarding the House Protect America Act vote here. Pelosi is also currently holding an alternate press conference.

UPDATE II: Even without the Republicans, the House contempt vote against Miers and Bolten passed, 223-32.

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