Former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former Chief of Staff Josh Bolten declined to testify about the U.S. attorney firing scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, and now it’s payback time: The House has voted to hold Bolten and Miers in contempt of Congress for keeping mum.
The matter will now be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
If the fight comes to a head without a compromise having been reached, it could pit Congress’s power to hold White officials in contempt against the president’s right to assert executive privilege.
Democrats passed two resolutions through the adoption of a single rule, a procedural tactic that limited the time of debate, angering Republicans. One resolution holds Bolten and Miers in contempt. The second sets the stage for a civil suit the House would file against the administration to compel it to force Bolten and Miers to testify.
“I hope this administration will realize this Congress is serious about its constitutional role of oversight,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).