House Republicans are charging head first into their most direct conflict with President Barack Obama’s administration over the extent of executive branch power, as they prepare to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.
Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) failed to reach an agreement on what documents the administration would fork over to help Republicans investigate the Fast and Furious program, a joint Justice Department-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives operation that put guns into the hands of Mexican cartels.
>The two sides remained at loggerheads Tuesday evening, after a 20-minute huddle in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s third-floor Capitol suite. Holder later called Issa’s position “political gamesmanship” and not a true attempt to resolve the dispute.
After the session, Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said no deal was in hand and Wednesday’s vote would move forward, barring a last-minute reversal.
The contempt fight with Holder and the White House is a big moment for House Republicans. With stubbornly high unemployment, a president with weak approval ratings, a redistricting process that has shored up Republican seats from coast to coast and a worse-than-expected economic recovery, GOP officials think they’re poised to keep the House in their control, and many believe they have a shot at taking the Senate and White House.