The 223-32 vote Thursday was preceded by Republicans walking off the floor to protest the action and House Democrats not bringing a Senate-passed intelligence bill to the floor for a vote.
In a news conference held after the walkout, House Minority Leader John Boehner called the contempt citation action a "political stunt."
The decision to seek contempt citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers followed efforts by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., to get information related to the firings to determine whether they were politically motivated.
"I didn't want to bring this motion to the floor," House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.
She said she hoped the White House would recognize that the legislative branch is "serious about congressional oversight."
If the Bush administration or the Justice Department fails to act, Pelosi said, "We will then have the power to subpoena (Bolten and Miers) and seek civil enforcement of our subpoena."