House Republicans walked off the floor in protest when the House Democratic leadership opted to vote on contempt of Congress charges against Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten. Here’s the full account:

House Republicans Thursday left the chamber ahead of a vote seeking to hold White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before a panel investigating the firing of several United States attorneys.

The move was intended to show that Republicans want to work on a permanent update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rather than be part of a “partisan fishing expedition,” as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) put it.

At a press conference following the walkout, Boehner said “Before Congress leaves town, we must give our intelligence officials the tools they need to keep America safe. “The president will delay his trip to Africa to deal with this critical issue. And Republicans are prepared to stay here as long as it takes to complete our work,” Boehner added. “The terrorist threat to our country is not going away. We must do everything we can to protect the American people, and we should start by passing the bipartisan Senate bill.”

The Democrats’ decision to not debate the FISA reform bill potentially puts the entire nation at risk. As such, it’s one of the riskiest, most irresponsible decisions in recent House history. Knowing that the temporary FISA reform bill runs out this Saturday should’ve been all the motivation needed to propel the House Democratic leadership to action. Instead, we’re hearing this type of drivel:

House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers said lawmakers should not be “stampeded” into approving permanent legislation now, saying more time is required to examine documents among other things.

That’s insane. The Protect America Act was signed into law on August 5, 2007. Now Rep. Conyers is saying that they need more time and that they’re getting stampeded? Competent leadership would’ve made this their highest priority months ago. Competent leadership would’ve passed this important legislation months ago.

Instead, the bunglers running the House are pushing this to the final minutes. It’s bad enough when the House didn’t bother even debating the appropriations bills until the start of the new fiscal year. That’s inexcusable. Not taking action on the FISA reform bill until the stopgap expires puts us in danger of terrorist attacks because we won’t be able to listen into terrorists’ conversations.

UPDATE: Here’s Eric Cantor’s post on the walkoff:

House Republicans have walked out to protest the Democrats’ refusal to consider Senate-passed FISA legislation that would enable America’s intelligence agencies to effectively monitor terrorists who are plotting to attack. While Democrats can’t find time for that, they did find time to debate the merits of specific individuals on the Administration staff. This is an outrage; our first duty is to protect America. Democrats refuse to take that seriously.

This is a perfect illustration of why voters shouldn’t trust Democrats on homeland security. They had at least two acceptable options: They could’ve debated their own bill, then voted on it. They could’ve debated the Senate bill and voted on it. Instead, they chose to debate whether or not Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten were guilty of contempt of Congress because they wouldn’t testify in one of the many House Democrat fishing expeditions into the Bush administration.

I’m a firm believer in partisanship but I won’t tolerate partisanship when it potentially puts American lives at risk.

This is a huge reminder as to why there is more than a dime’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats. Anyone who stays home this November after reading about this is as irresponsible as the House Democratic leadership team.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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