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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Democrats accepting recommendations from the NRA? Hilarious.
DOJ's reaction to the Supreme Court decision on the AZ law shows the depth of its lawlessness. Holder wants to make it virtually impossible to deport anyone, including violent criminals, who is in AZ illegally. Maybe the name of Arizona should be changed to North Mexico.
After this elections we the people of this country have to change the way people are elected to Congress and our Senate.
We the people wants people who can work for the people. We should be able to recall anybody who was elected
and did anything different other than what he was sent there to do. Then we the people of this country wouldn't be
assed out. The way they are working in our high office is a disgrace and demeaning to our high offices, we the people
has to demand that something has to be done. They are taking bribes, they are being treated like lords over us, the people who put them in that seat, we got to do something to change this and our Supreme Court.
Just blame one person in power...and when, or if, he's found in contempt and is possibly forced to quit his post, everything will be fine and dandy and all the problems will be solved–just more of the usual scapegoating and keeping on keeping on.
All this rheteric from Isaa.....must be an election year......I can understand the NRA....they were long ago in Repub hands.
if they vote against Holder – they will be barred from endering Canada and if they show up at thye boarder our agents will jail them for six months before they get a hearing
NRA pressure for what? LaPierre's delusional conspiracy theory that some how Fast and Furious (whose roots started under Bush) is suppossed to somehow lead to gun restrictions in the U.S.? The man is a crackpot, and Mr. Issa is furthering that paranoid delusion. Members of both political parties need to remember the American voter and forget about the tin-pot "patriots" they "pledge" to like Norquist and LaPierre.
It shouldn't take the NRA for law makers to jump on Holder. He is about as incompetent as any public servant that has ever lived and defrauded the American people.
Eric Holder = part lying lawyer, part coconut
This is biased journalism at its finest.
Sorry, but I think the democratic dissidents will vote with the republicans because, when the nation's attorney general is behaving in a criminal manner and is withholding information ILLEGALLY, it is the RIGHT thing to do to hold him in contempt.
what we are reading now is a shame, these people were put in office to help the usa.now they work for the partys. VOTE THEM ALL OUIT AND IMPEACH THE SUPREME COURT ALL 9
First, the allegations of a conspiracy are ridiculous. Fast and Furious was conceived of under Bush. If the program failed, or was botched, well that's a blemish on the DOJ's record. It is not grounds for creating a giant conspiracy theory to discredit the legitimacy of the current administration.
When some liberal group complains about the policies and actions of Republicans, all GOP lawmakers laugh them off. No Republican will be caught giving into Liberal pressure groups. Dems have no such gumption. They cave to groups like the NRA at the most crucial moments, even when the reasons are patently absurd.
This is why the broad sweep of history has been on the side of Republicans for so long. The only solution is for the Dems to become like the GOP, or, even better, the Republicans become more like the Dems.
The fear is that the Obama admin wants to scare Americans into stricter guns laws. I say "Prove it." Issa admitted that he has no proof of wrongdoing. Guilty until proven innocent.
why would any lobby group be having an impact on any statement of fact vote is beyond me. He either mislead congress , withheld information, or lied OR he did not...it is simple....I guess it is politics as usualy......on both sides.
My respect for the democrats just increased. They are doing what they feel is right instead of just following their party like sheep
This entire discussion by the House is politics, NOT what they should be doin with their time in DC eg. representing the people/running the country. Pink slip time on the red side of the aisle.
Holder, and his puppet master Obama, have shown nothing but contempt for the American people. Now it's time to show contempt from them and throw them in prison. The Democrats better get on the right side or else they will find themselves out of a job in November.
@The Voice of Reason – "CNN has kept its audience in the dark, so let me update you even further"
You can't call yourself the "Voice of Reason" and then spout silly conspiracy theories. Tell me, since Fast and Furious was an extension of the Bush Administration's "Operation Wide Receiver", are you saying that the George W. Bush Administration concocted a conspiracy to undermine the 2nd Amendment? WOW, what a scandal !!!!
Time for the President to clear the Air about Fast and Furious.
Holder and Obama are responsible for the deaths of American law enforcement and arming Mexican drug cartels, in the hopes that they can blame law abiding citizens for their actions, and then pass more anti-gun laws. Talk about Un-American. They both need to spend time behind bars.
How is this a "rush"? This investigation has been going on for 18 months, All Eric "Witholder" has been doing is stonewalling, and lying to congress. What does Hoyer expect? To drag on for another 18 months so they try and bury it under the rug??
Elijah must have his head checked if he does not think Obama's gun running didn't have a purpose. Just who was going to track the movement of weapons once over the border. It had one purpose and that was to inflate the number of weapons tracked from Mexico
to further Obama's gun ban agenda.
Did someone actually ask what would happen if Bush lied? Uh, right. that never happened.
Dems are impotent. I'm not surprised in the slightest. GOP would stand by their president even if he lied to America about WMDs and invaded a sovereign country and sunk the US into the worst depression since (and I think possibly including) the Great Depression. Oh right, they did.
If it were not for President Obama, many democrats would not be in office. So many road his coattails into office and now don't have the backbone to stand up to threats by the NRA and Republicans. They haven’t had it since Clinton and likely never will again. They are impotent.
NRA wants to take Democrats hostage. If Dems vote against Atty Holder on a conspiratorial theory of taking away your gun rights, then they will vote for anything. Wrong is wrong, and Democrats have to stand up to the unhinge right wing fringe or stand for nothing.
Holder should be in prison.