GOP Quashes CBC Attempt to Oust Issa
James Wright | 3/9/2014, 2:04 p.m.
The Congressional Black Caucus, upset by the recent treatment of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) as the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee by its chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), sent a letter on Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) calling for Issa be stripped of his chairmanship.
"The American people have the right to expect that their elected leaders be held to the highest possible standards of conduct," CBC chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said in the letter. "Congressional committee leaders are held to an even higher standard due to their unique positions. The abuse of authority and misuse of the congressional privileges afforded them are an affront to the expectations of the American public."
On Wednesday, former IRS employee Lois Lerner refused to testify during a committee hearing about the agency's alleged targeting of tea party organizations, citing the Fifth Amendment. When Cummings was scheduled to speak on the matter, Issa ordered the Baltimore Democrat's microphone closed and stopped the hearing.
Fudge noted that other members of the committee were also prevented by Issa from commenting and that he violated several House rules and common customs by doing so.
"Mr. Issa is a disgrace and should not be allowed to continue in a leadership role," Fudge said. "As the speaker, you are responsible for maintaining decorum and appropriate conduct in the House of Representatives and ordering the Sergeant at Arms to enforce House rules. We urge you to take prompt action to maintain the integrity of this body and remove Mr. Issa as chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee immediately."
House Republicans backed Issa, however, voting down the Fudge-led Democratic resolution to formally censure him regarding the matter. Boehner also tentatively supported Issa, saying the chairman had a right to cut Cummings's mic.