POLITICS: PennAve

House tables Democratic resolution condemning Rep. Darrell Issa

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Darrell Issa,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Ethics,Elijah Cummings,House Democrats,Lois Lerner,House Oversight

The Republican-led House on Thursday rejected a Democratic resolution condemning Rep. Darrell Issa for turning off the microphones at the conclusion of a committee hearing a day earlier.

The House voted 211-186 to table the measure, which accused the California Republican, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of violating chamber rules when he turned off the microphone of the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

The vote was along party lines. Issa, with five Republicans and four Democrats on the House Ethics Committee, voted "present."

Issa abruptly adjourned the hearing over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups after former agency official Lois Lerner repeatedly refused to answer his questions.

As Issa gaveled the hearing to a close, Cummings said he had a statement and procedural question, but the chairman ignored him. Cummings continued to speak, telling Issa "you cannot run a committee like this." Issa then turned off his microphone.

Moments later Issa switched Cummings' microphone back on, told the rest of the committee they were free to leave and said the Democrat could ask his question. But when Cummings began to make a statement, Issa again turned his microphone off.

Cummings then angrily shouted, "I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of this."

The resolution, offered by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said the House "strongly condemns the offensive and disrespectful manner" in which Issa conducted the hearing. Cummings is a caucus member.

All 16 Democratic members of the oversight panel also sent Issa a letter Wednesday condemning his actions and asking him to apologize to Cummings to "begin the process of restoring credibility and integrity of our committee."

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she backs the resolution.

“I can’t see how Republicans wouldn’t be running forward to disassociate themselves from such behavior,” Pelosi said Thursday during her weekly news briefing. "You would think they would be heading to the hills."

Fudge also has called on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to remove from Issa from his chairmanship.

But Boehner has backed Issa, telling reporters that "from what I understand, I think Mr. Issa was within his rights to adjourn the hearing when he did."

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