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Attorney General Holder Contempt Vote

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, let me first thank my colleagues in the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses for coming to the floor to denounce the deeply partisan and divisive effort by congressional Republicans to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt. We need to be doing what the American people elected us to do, and that is to create jobs and to get our economy back on its feet.

This contempt vote stands in stark contrast to our duties in Congress. We should be devoting our time to creating jobs, addressing our Nation's neglected infrastructure, and ensuring that student loan rates don't balloon starting next week.

Too many hardworking American families are looking for their next paycheck, and yet this Tea Party-led Republican Congress is wasting precious legislative time and energy on a purely partisan effort to generate conflict where none exists.

The Republicans' claims against Attorney General Holder defy belief. The simple fact is the Bush administration developed the inappropriate tactics, and once this Justice Department, under President Obama, learned about it, Attorney General Holder stopped the program--stopped it.

So instead of handling our Nation's priorities, this Tea Party-led Republican Congress is choosing to stick its head in the sand, ignoring the wide range of documents and open cooperation provided by the Justice Department but now engage in a game of political theater with no regard for struggling families across America.

The true motivation behind this contempt resolution is simple: As Leader Pelosi remarked last week, this is really about suppressing voter turnout. The National Rifle Association, unfortunately, has insisted that their supported Members of Congress vote for it or face political peril.

Let me tell you, these Tea Party Republicans don't like it when their ideological efforts to prevent people from voting get blocked by the Justice Department doing its job--and that's defending the Constitution of the United States. They know they can't win in judicial courts and they cannot win in the court of public opinion, so instead they're doing all they can to undermine the Justice Department by dragging Attorney General Holder through the mud, making endless demands, changing the goal posts, and monopolizing his time so that they can continue their efforts to undermine the democratic process. And they're asking for information that would violate the law. Furthermore, this is unprecedented. The House has never voted to hold an Attorney General in contempt.

Mr. Speaker, the American people are sick and tired of seeing these Tea Party Republicans pursue a senseless and destructive agenda. There's a reason that Congress has the lowest approval rating in history, and it has everything to do with efforts like this--a contempt vote that does nothing to improve the economy, does nothing to create jobs, and does nothing to strengthen our middle class or to help those trying to raise themselves out of poverty.

We need to invest in transportation, in education, and in ensuring above all that jobs and jobs and more jobs are added to our economic recovery. We only have a matter of weeks before Congress effectively shuts down for the August recess, and we cannot waste any more time doing anything other than putting Americans back to work. Jobs should be our number one priority, our number two priority, and our number three priority.

So I join my colleagues in the tri-caucuses calling for an end to this useless path of petty politics. Let us work during the remainder of time we have this congressional session to do the work that we were sent here to do. No more political witch hunts, no more political fishing expeditions, no more excuses. It's time to get back to work.


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