Washington (CNN) – The number two Democrat in the House signaled on Tuesday that some Democrats could join with Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress later this week, citing pressure from the National Rifle Association.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee approved a resolution last week holding Holder in contempt for failing to release documents related to the committee's investigation of the failed gun trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious." The full House is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday.
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Some gun rights advocates, including the NRA, maintain that the program that allowed hundreds of weapons, including assault rifles, to go across the border into Mexico was a way for the Obama Administration to press for new gun control laws. Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa said on Sunday he had emails showing the administration planned to point to the operation and push for a "weapons ban or greater reporting."
When asked in his weekly session with reporters to give an estimate of how many Democrats might defect on the vote, Rep Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, replied "I can't."
Hoyer immediately pointed out that the NRA has "weighed in on this issue" and acknowledged "there are some members who will consider the recommendations of the NRA."
"Whether they think those recommendations are founded or not I don't know at this point," Hoyer added.
Democratic leaders are urging rank and file members to stick together and oppose the resolution, according to a senior House Democratic aide. The vote in the committee last week was a party line vote, but that came before the gun lobby formally registered its support for the contempt resolution. Rarely has any pro-gun rights Democrat representing a rural and southern district broken with the NRA's position on key votes, especially in an election year.
The NRA's Executive Director Chris Cox sent a letter to Issa after the committee vote last week supporting his efforts. In the letter Cox writes, "It's no secret that the NRA does not admire Attorney General Holder," adding, "for years we have pointed out his history of anti-Second Amendment advocacy and enforcement actions."
"The reason we support the contempt resolution is the same reason we first called for Attorney General Holder's resignation more than a year ago; the Department's obstruction of congressional oversight of a program that costs lives in support of an anti-gun agenda," the letter explains.
The NRA, which frequently weighs in on congressional races with endorsements and a national grassroots network, also put members on notice that anyone who votes against contempt could face consequences in the fall election. "This is an issue of utmost seriousness and the NRA will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations."
The top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Maryland Rep Elijah Cummings, pushed back at Chairman Issa's claim that he had evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was an effort to push for a ban on assault weapons.
"I don't believe that, and I think it's very unfortunate that people are coming up with these theories," Cummings told reporters Tuesday.
Hoyer challenged Issa to produce evidence that linked the failed gun walking program to an effort by the administration to press new gun laws. He also chastised the GOP for moving ahead with the full floor vote on Thursday, calling it "an inevitable conclusion that the rush to judgment, the rush to consideration is again the choosing of confrontation over consensus in the resolution of issues."
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The U.S. House of Representatives is worthy of whatever contempt comes its way, kudos to Holder.
The NRA? Oh yeah, I forgot, the tin foil crowd, including the idiot who heads the NRA, has fanticized that the purpose of Fast and Furious was to get people to support gun control. I guess they think the Bush Administration was also anti 2nd amendment, as their version, Operation Wide Receiver, did essentially the same thing as F&F. Perhaps Elvis (who, you know, is still alive) told him that, right after telling him we didn't actually land on the moon. At least the right wing crazies are good for a laugh.
Holder is history along with Hussein Obama.
Why are Latinos so supportive of President Obama ... The Obama administration agreed to sneak behind the Mexico Government's back and give a bunch of drug dealers guns so they could kill Latinos, and anyone else that might stand up against them like border patrols. Then Obama hides behind executive privilege so that no one will know he gave the ok.
Yeah lobbies! Looking out for Americans and paying off... I mean roping in those in Congress who do not think like us!
Funny how the NRA had no problem supporting Zimmerman, a guy who murdered a black kid just to play wanna be cop.
"This is an issue of utmost seriousness and the NRA will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations."
So it's not even about Brian Terry anymore. It's about the biggest special interest force in our government saying "do this" or you won't be elected. There was a point in time where people would decide who they voted for... Not the gun lobby deciding for them.
I do NOT need the NRA to speak for me. The 2nd amendment isn't under attack. Sanity is. This ranks up there with CU ruling and the Norquist pledge as to the dysfunction we are witnessing. Very disappointing indeed.
I will now cancel my membership in the NRA after 21 years.
NRA says it's a big "plot" to increase gun violence so that guns would be banned (to decrease gun violence).
Bush started it but the "plot" began with the black guys (of course, or as usual in their twisted minds)
The NRA is an evil organization.
Good. Vet it out, if it is a boondoggle the GOP will take the heat. But if it sticks, then it should stick and the DNC will take the heat.
WHy say its because of the NRA? How about some will side with the republicans because they know Holder is hiding something and Obama is aiding in the coverup?
More partisan BS while Rome burns...that's some government we've elected, all busy trying to soil each other's clothes so they can get re-elected. Real problems? Just kick them down the road!
Nice to see the NRA runs the government ... good example of corporate/special interest influence in Congress.
To be sure... some Democrats will vote with the Republicans, because they too are controlled by the NRA... you just have to love how the Democrats just stand up to bullies!
Write the names of these Democrats down and when they come up for reelection... vote them out!
Yes the NRA is keeping a score card on the vote and will campaign against those who vote against the contempt charge. Who are our Congress really working for now. Certainly not the American people. They are working for the lobbyist. This is sick when a politican is afraid of voting correct. This nation is in trouble.
Are you kidding me???????????????? it's time to outlaw the nutty rifle azzholes and all lobbyists that own congress!!!!
I can't believe Democrats would not want to hold the AG in contempt, those guns that they sent down to Mexico are killing innocent civilians. It's time to put your party in the back and your ethics in front.
And of course the NRA is running a scare campaign telling voters that Obama is taking away there 2nd amendments rights. The NRA needs to be stomped on.
Pressure from the NRA??? They aren't a government body. They are a club. Come on congress, don't fail us yet again. Stop listening to the NRA, they do not have any say in what the government does.
This ia nothing but a scam by the republicans. They can't drum up any charges to make President Obama look bad, so they are going for the next best thing. Holder is a black man and they have decided that they are going to break one of the two. The GOP is a shameless disgusting party. All they need are the white sheets to complete their uniforms. Any politician who signed any pledges besides the ones to help the American people should be fired on the spot, but the GOP/TP party is okay with this type of behavior.
Another ECONOMY FAILURE? Did you pass high school state exams? Did you cheated by copying someone's work?
Holder is the worst AG ever. He should be thrown out of office and his Justice Department cleaned out from top to bottom. A man is dead. His loved ones will never see him again. Holder and Obama are responsible for his death. But Holder spends his energy protecting the Black Panthers and illegal immigrants. Liability to Obama and will cost him re-election.
Oh, great...as if we needed any more confirmation that our fovernemtn is bought and paid for by special interests...and these so called "Deomocratic " congressmen need to grow a pair. Useless,spineless cowards.
Send this bum to jail.
If Holder produced the records it would show that fault for the murder of the federal agent would point traight to Obam, that is why they are stonewalling to protect him!!!!!