WASHINGTON – The House voted yesterday to hold two of President Bush’s confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The vote was 223-32 to hold White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt.

The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress’ demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 firings.

Republicans said Democrats should instead be working on extending a law – set to expire Saturday – allowing the government to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails in the United States in cases of suspected terrorist activity.

“We have space on the calendar today for a politically charged fishing expedition, but no space for a bill that would protect the American people from terrorists who want to kill us,” said Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“Let’s just get up and leave,” he told his colleagues, before storming out of the House chamber with scores of Republicans in tow.

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