Extremists in The U.S House of Representatives Vote to Cite AG Holder in Contempt of Congress
108 MEMBERS, LED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS, WALK OUT OF CHAMBER IN PROTEST AND REFUSE TO VOTE
On June 28, 2012, the United States House of Representatives voted, by a margin of 255 yeas to 67 nays, with 1 member voting “present” and 109 Members not voting, to cite Attorney General Eric holder in contempt of Congress over documents in the “Fast and Furious” debacle. To protest the vote, 108 members of Congress, led by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver (MO), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), walked out of the chamber in protest and did not vote. Attorney General Holder is now not only the first African American Attorney General of the United States, he is also the first sitting Attorney General to be found in contempt of Congress.
The NAACP strongly opposed the contempt of Congress citation, as it appears to be another attempt by extremist Members of Congress to distract and derail the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice from pursuing the very real and important work they are doing in the areas of protecting our voting rights and civil rights. Earlier this year, the very same extremist members passed a bill which, if enacted, would bar the US Department of Justice from supporting law suits to stop racial profiling by state law enforcement agents; to oppose racially discriminatory photo IDs when voting; in support of health care reform; or to enforce a recent guidance by the EEOC which would stop employers from conducting criminal background checks on potential employees.
Furthermore, while the NAACP believes that while the Congress has every right, and indeed a responsibility, to oversee programs such as the mis-guided “Fast and Furious” fiasco, it also has an obligation to address the nation’s pressing problems such as unemployment and growing wealth inequities.