House Republicans on Tuesday blocked Democrats from disbanding the Benghazi committee in a measure prompted by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's remarks suggesting that the GOP-led investigation into the attacks may be politically motivated. U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, a top Democratic member on the House Rules Committee, attempted to shut down the Select Committee on Benghazi by creating an amendment that used similar language as another piece of legislation creating a committee to look into Planned Parenthood.
The amendment ultimately failed on a party line vote 7-2 at the Rules panel.
The proposal came days before former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination, was scheduled to appear before the committee. She is set to testify Oct. 22.
McCarthy spoke to Fox News last week about the yearlong probe ahead of Clinton's testimony. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" McCarthy said. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought.”
McCarthy's comments launched renewed efforts to abolish the committee. Slaughter referenced his remarks before she put forward the amendment and argued that the committee "squandered nearly $5 million in taxpayer money."
“Speaker-in-Waiting Kevin McCarthy accidently told the truth last week and admitted that the Benghazi select committee had one mission alone: to influence a presidential election," she said in a statement. "Using official resources for campaign purposes is a clear violation of the Rules of the House and federal law and is a clear and undeniable abuse of official staff time, resources, and attention. It undermines the work of the House and misleads the American public. Representative McCarthy’s statements make it clear that the Majority uses select committees for politics, not for governance, and we must put an end to that abuse."
— Louise Slaughter (@louiseslaughter) October 7, 2015
Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, spoke in favor of the Benghazi probe. “The characterization by a member of this body, as we all can do to make characterizations about the work that is performed, they can be held accountable for,” he said. “But the actual work -- the product, the nature, the detail and the professionalism that this select committee is doing -- I believe has brought honor and respect.”
After the Tuesday evening vote, Slaughter tweeted: "Surprise! The House Majority voted down my effort to dissolve the clearly politicized Benghazi Committee."