If the democrats want to look tough in front of president Bush, approving subpoenas but not issuing them is not the way to go about it.
In an article in published in NY Times, Carl Hulse writes:
A House panel authorized subpoenas Wednesday requiring Karl Rove and four other senior Bush administration officials to testify under oath in the inquiry into the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors.
Even as the White House dug in against the demand, Democrats in Congress held out hope for a compromise. Though members of a House judiciary subcommittee approved the subpoenas, they did not issue them, saying they wanted to avoid a showdown over separation of powers.
“Trust me,” said Representative John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “We are not going to move in a reckless or angry or temperamental way at all.”
You don’t want to look temperamental? Why have a vote on the subpoenas in the first place?
The White House said the offer it made Tuesday was final: to allow Mr. Rove and others to be interviewed in private without having to take oaths or having the sessions transcribed.
“If they issue subpoenas, the offer is withdrawn,” President Bush’s press secretary, Tony Snow, said Tuesday…
Even though the senate is scheduled to discuss subpoenas, it may turn out that president Bush will get his way and have his officials interrogated quietly. Why? Practical matters.
“If there is a confrontation, it’s going to take two years or more to get it resolved in court,” said Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “We’ll be in the term of the next president of the United States.”