February 14th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
14 years ago

House Republicans walk out over spying bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/14/art.gophouseout.ap.jpg caption="Republican members of the House gathered outside after walking of the chamber in protest Thursday."]
(CNN) - House Republicans staged a walkout Thursday afternoon to protest the Democratic leadership's decision to vote on a contempt motion citing White House Chief Of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers.

The two have refused to comply with subpoenas in an investigation into the firings of U.S. attorneys in 2006. The Republicans think the House should be focused on passing an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Florida, said Democrats are "more interested in a political witch hunt" than protecting the country.

The surveillance bill expires over the weekend. Republicans and Democrats in the House are hung up over a provision in the legislation that would grant telecommunication companies retroactive immunity for the help they provided to the Bush administration in investigating terrorism after the September 11 attacks.

–CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report

Filed under: House
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Jayson

    Congress is not a courthouse and congressman are not serving as prosecutors or as judges. The whole idea of subpoenas and hearings being held by congress is proposterous. If someone actually has done something illegal there is a federal court to address the issue in. It is time that Congress let the judicial branch do their job instead of thinking that they have some inherent right to do whatever the hell they please.

    February 14, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Mary

    A walk out!...Just who do these people think they are?...This Bush regime just think they can do anything they want – and why not, given what they have gotten away with for the past 7 years...They need to be held accountable for at least some of it...It surely can't all still go their way...Time for big change America!...Let's get this country back on track and say goodbye to these morons.

    February 14, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. tomdavie

    And what does Barack Obama plan to do about this nonsense. I guess he forgot to mention the president doesnt have a lot of say in this sort of balony.

    Isnt he going to come down in his big wizard of oz outfit and demand they all behave?

    Yes we can !!!! – con them all ! Yes we can !!!!

    February 14, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. raf

    David Gilbert, that's not true.

    It's not the fact that Bush replaced the US Attorneys that's a problem, it's the fact that they were allegedly ousted because the White House wanted them to prosecute Democrats and ignore Republicans. That is highly, highly illegal, if true.

    If that still doesn't bother you, imagine Hillary Clinton in office telling all her U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute Democrats and only target Republicans. This isn't a small thing, it's putting actual people in jail just for being on the wrong side of the aisle.

    Whatever power you're willing to give one person, remember that his successor will have the same power.

    February 14, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. It's all about the Constitution

    John in Virginia / Jack in California /Phil/AJ-you are exactly right. It is amazing how many people just don't get it.
    Let the reptilians walk out, and they can keep walking
    1-22-09 the end of an error

    February 14, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. dale in indiana

    this is just another example of how the gop thinks they can trample all over the constitution. the congressmen that kept walking need to keep walking back home and stay there....

    February 14, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Lou

    Yeah. If democrats are smart, they'll lock the door behind them.

    February 14, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. brian

    Republicans – the party of accountability. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Remember the 'rule of law' garbage every republican spouted during their time in power? WAAWAAHHHHH!!!

    Get back to work Bohner and hold the criminals in contempt then remove immunity for the corporations.

    February 14, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Jim D.

    So the witches are opposed to a witch hunt, eh? What a surprise.

    February 14, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Rob


    February 14, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. con in PA

    Some telecomms refused BUSH, stating YOU NEED A WARRANT. Without a WARRANT, it would be ILLEGAL for us to allow you access to our customers. Isn't that amazing???? Some corporations employ attorneys, that actually BELIEVE our LAWS MEAN SOMETHING!
    All our government has to do is GO TO THE FISA COURT, get a WARRANT, and they are good to go spy!
    All Telecomms must comply with a WARRANT.
    Someone needs to tell the resident fear mongor...what the American people understand. Warrant...or it's illegal!
    But give the poor telecomm's immunity?? If they did nothing wrong, they have NOTHING to worry about...huh?

    February 14, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  12. Obama-man

    Republicans take great pride over the fact that they've "protected" America from further terrorist attacks after 9/11. Bunk. Our college kids have to deal with the possibility of terrorist attacks every day. Virginia Tech and today, Northern Illinois, are examples of terrorism that no one, Republicans or Democrats, have taken up as a campaign issue . . . safety in schools.

    February 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. JB Hull, IA

    I hope they stay out there 😉

    February 14, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Melissa, Tarpon Springs, Fl

    Let the Republicans walk and the Democrats finally get the backbone to impeach!

    Uphold your oath of office and the Constitution of the United States of America, John Conyers!

    February 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Just Us

    War, privacy, budget , soldiers– all big decisions from a GOP that is SUPPOSE to be SMALL AND CONSERVATIVE IN OUR LIVES -- with mics set up, complaining because they don't want to be asked questions on if they broke the law with the proposal to listen in and watch americans – is THE MOST PITIFUL EPISODE FOR REPUBLICANS WHO AFTER 8 YEARS, CANNOT ANSWER what was heard, watched, where money was spent, and who is in charge. ASK it, and they will RUN. That's the GOP. That's irresponsibility, arrogance, egotistical pride – from these men and women who are OUR SERVANTS for a clear, balanced picture of government. I want straight answers, not a hippie-esq rally in suits GOP!! "oh we were going to africa to help the poor, but no one wants to agree with us on phone tapping, and we are freedom fighters for you americans....oooo...set up the mic, we all have something to say...oooo..." LAME.

    February 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. sick and tired

    just like in the corporate world: you walk out you get fired......well? fire all of them in the picture.

    the repugs are sickening

    February 14, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. James

    Divide and conquer – Republicans vs Democrat's
    Keep being divided and the professional Politicians will lead you down the road to oppression.

    February 14, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. Dave

    The republicans are protecting those breaking laws. They spend taxpayers time to stage a protest. GREAT! Business as usual. Good thing a lot of them won't be there come January.

    February 14, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. Richard Steinberg

    I certainly hope this gets expedited Supreme Court review. Shame on the Republicans. Shame on the President. What doublespeak - he violates the separation of powers and then calls the Congress the violator. Whether or not politics is a motivation, the constitutional limits of presidential power have to be maintained.

    Republicans - how can you vote for your representatives that walked out?

    February 14, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Denny from Michigan

    For those that think someone can reach across the aisle and get people to change their political veiw.........Well here is a reality check for you. I was watching the live coverage of this event and it was just a big act to force a non quorum in the senate to prevent a vote on another issue. The issue of enforcing the constitution and not allowing the President or anyone else to avoid a hearing and being above the law. This was the last move made and they had done other tactics to stall the issue. The fact is if they would have done business, they may have been able to schedule the FISA issue or at least set a firm date and gave a stay of the present extention until it could have time for talk. With all the amendments that come in at a last minute, I can understand the need for time (more than 24 hours to look at something) before vote. This has been the tactics used in Washington for decades by parties and I think the people should be told the whole story and not just the juicy side that the news media wants to cover. These are die hard party people that care nothing about their voters, but point fingers at the other party as to blame. Voters need to be reminded of this when elections come up so the can be held accountable for their actions.
    Lets face it CNN is no better than FOX or MSNBC at giving part of the story to mislead the viewers to their bias opinions. To bad the news has slipped that low. Step up and give the whole story and let the people decide, we are not as stupid as you tend to make us out to be.
    ONE LAST TIME FOR YOU CNN AND VIEWERS ....OBAMA AND EDWARDS WAS NOT ON THE MICHIGAN BALLOT AS THEY DECIDED TO HAVE THEIR NAMES REMOVED.........EVERYONE ELSE RUNNING HAD THEIR NAMES ON THE BALLOT.........So what is so hard about telling the people the truth as well as it was not the voters that moved the primary up it was our governor and house that did. We had choices and voted, so let it stand as done.........They pulled their name like they did not want our vote and to me THEY QUIT ON US ....sooooooo...Live with it, you lost here....................

    February 14, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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