By Todd Ruger
The House is moving forward today for a full House vote on whether Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. should be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation.
Some Democratic members are planning a walk-out during the contempt vote, led by the Congressional Black Caucus. But House Republicans say they have enough votes to find Holder in contempt.
A final vote is expected between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. this afternoon. An hour of debate will precede it. The discussion about Holder will start around 12:45 p.m., when the House discusses procedures for holding the contempt vote.
Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee vote that moved the contempt hearing to the full House last week went along party lines, 23-17. Republicans moved forward with the contempt case even though DOJ informed Issa that the White House had claimed executive privilege over the documents. That DOJ letter was delivered to Issa about 15 minutes before the committee hearing started.
If the vote in the full House goes along party lines, Republicans would win by a 242-190 vote. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said this weekend he believes some Democrats will also vote for contempt, saying he expects some votes from the 31 who previously had written the Obama Administration and urged the Department of Justice to be more forthcoming.
The DOJ has said Holder would rather "take his lumps" than turn over some of the documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as part of a probe. The chairman of that committee, Issa, took to the Sunday political talk show circuit to say he and House leadership would not back down this week unless he had those documents in hand.
Last week, Holder issued a statement describing the Oversight Committee’s contempt vote as "an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action" that's intended to provoke conflict between Congress and the executive branch. He called it "untrue" that the department has not been responsive to congressional demands for information.