Judiciary Committee Democrats referred the contempt resolution to the full House after the attorney general failed to produce the unredacted Mueller report.
The former White House counsel was asked to turn over documents by Tuesday.
The attorney general’s failure to comply with a subpoena "leaves us no choice," said Rep. Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
“We will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith," Rep. Jerry Nadler said.
The attorney general’s cancellation meant he would avoid another round of sharp questioning.
The Department of Justice said Barr would not be attending the hearing on his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"We're going to see where the facts lead us," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The Judiciary Committee plans to investigate charges of obstruction of justice against the president that were laid out in the redacted Mueller report.
It "falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward,” Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said.
The House speaker called the redacted report a "grave matter" and described its release as "disrespectfully late."
Chairman Jerry Nadler demanded that the special counsel appear to explain his findings.
Committee chairs slammed the attorney general for planning an "unnecessary" press conference before the Mueller report's release to Congress.
The president has "no moral authority" to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar over comments referencing the terror attack, the congressman told Jake Tapper.
Trump's personal attorney claimed, however, that only Attorney General William Barr could make that decision.
“We have an obligation to read the full report, and the Department of Justice has an obligation to provide it, in its entirely, without delay," Chairman Jerrold Nadler said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Barr’s synopsis of the federal probe “condescending” and “arrogant.”
The requests for underlying evidence are central to Democrats’ demands for Mueller’s full report.
The 2020 presidential hopeful is concerned about more than just the possibility of Trump's re-election.
Rep. Jerry Nadler's announcement came after Barr sent Congress a letter detailing his findings from special counsel Robert Mueller's report.