Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus Brings Resolution Condemning Issa, Asks Boehner to Take His Gavel (Video) (Updated)

Fudge says she believes race is a factor in Senate filibusters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:23 p.m. | The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus brought a resolution to the floor Thursday condemning Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and asked Speaker John A. Boehner to take his gavel, after Issa cut off Rep. Elijah E. Cummings’ microphone at a hearing Wednesday.

Flanked by CBC colleagues and other Democrats, Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, stood on the House floor to introduce a privileged resolution condemning the California Republican for the “offensive and disrespectful manner in which [he] conducted the hearing” and for “turn[ing] off the microphones of the Ranking Member while he was speaking and adjourn[ing] the hearing without a vote or a unanimous consent agreement.

Within hours, the House voted on party lines to shelve the resolution, with Republicans lining up to back Issa.

Cummings, a CBC member and the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was attempting to ask a procedural question and deliver general remarks at a resumption of a May 2013 hearing to question IRS official Lois Lerner, who again declined to answer questions by citing her Fifth Amendment rights.

Issa’s refusal to allow the Maryland Democrat to engage has set off a new chapter in a running feud between the two senior lawmakers on the panel.

This time, however, Democrats are taking it personally. In addition to the CBC privileged resolution, Fudge sent a letter to Boehner asking that Issa be removed from his chairmanship.

But the Ohio Republican issued a strong defense of Issa Thursday morning at his weekly press conference.

“Darrell Issa is the chairman, he’s done an effective job as chairman and I support him,” Boehner said. “The issue here is our effort to try to get the truth of the abuse by the IRS ofgroups around the country that some in the administration don’t agree with. From what I understand, I think Mr. Issa was within his rights to adjourn the hearing when he did.”

Ranking members of various House committees gathered for a news conference of their own complaining of a pattern of abuse of power by GOP chairmen.

Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, was taken aback by Boehner’s comments when asked by a reporter.

“He said that the chairman was in his rights or something like that? That can’t be the protocol of this institution,” Levin said. “When I saw Darrell Issa in action yesterday I thought back on all my years here and I think he has brought to an unbearable crescendo. It has to stop. The privileged resolution was filed today. I hope it can be brought up and I hope the Republicans will decide that there is some waters’ edge to politics.”

Rules Committee Ranking Member Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., called the incident “so outrageous, so demeaning, so unjudicial, so awful that we absolutely have reached a boiling point.”

Cummings said on Wednesday that he did not want to venture into a narrative of personal disrespect, and on Thursday he reiterated that position. His real frustration with Issa’s behavior, he said, had to do with what he referred to as Issa’s apparent disinterest in listening to the Democratic perspective because it ran counter to what Republicans’ wanted to hear, thus leading him to shut off the microphone.

Issa said yesterday that Cummings owes him an apology, to which Cummings offered a pointed reply.

“I can tell you this: A number of Republican members on our committee have come up to me and said, ‘Don’t tell him, but I apologize. You should not have been treated that way,'” Cummings told reporters. “A number of them.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., backed the resolution Thursday afternoon at her weekly press conference.

“I can’t see how Republicans wouldn’t be running forward to disassociate themselves from such behavior,” she said. “You would think they would be heading to the hills.”

As for how Boehner justified his defense of Issa at his own press conference earlier Thursday, Pelosi said, “He must be under a lot of pressure if he thinks what Darrell Issa did was okay, because it’s not.”

Asked whether Pelosi thought Issa’s attitude towards Cummings had anything to do with race, Pelosi demurred.

“I know in the Congressional Black Caucus there’s concern because on previous occasions such as this it was when Mr. [Charles B. Rangel] was ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee and you recall Bill Thomas crying on the House floor apologizing for what he did,” she said.

That infamous 2003 incident involved former Ways and Means Chairman Thomas, R-Calif., calling the Capitol Police to oust Rangel from an annex adjacent to the committee room where he was protesting legislative business.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also called the incident “inappropriate” and said members of the minority should have the right to speak.

The full resolution is below:


Whereas on March 5, 2014, during a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa gave a statement and then posed ten questions to former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, who stated that she was invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify;

Whereas the Committee’s Ranking Member, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, clearly sought recognition to take his turn for questions under Committee and House Rules;

Whereas, Chairman Issa then unilaterally adjourned the hearing and refused to allow him to make any statement or ask any questions;

Whereas Ranking Member Cummings protested immediately, stating: “Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a Committee like this.  You just cannot do this.  This is, we are better than that as a country, we are better than that as a Committee.”

Whereas, Chairman Issa then returned and allowed Ranking Member Cummings to begin his statement, but when it became clear that Chairman Issa did not want to hear what Ranking Member Cummings was saying, turned off Ranking Member Cummings’ microphone, ordered Republican staff to “close it down,” and repeatedly signaled to end the hearing with his hand across his neck;

Whereas Ranking Member Cummings objected again, stating: “You cannot have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that.”;

Whereas Chairman Issa made a statement of his own and posed questions during the hearing, but refused to allow other members of the Committee, and in particular the Ranking Member who had sought recognition, to make statements under the five-minute rule in violation of House Rule XI;

Whereas Chairman Issa instructed the microphones be turned off and adjourned the hearing without a vote or a unanimous consent agreement in violation of Rule XVI because he did not want to permit Ranking Member Cummings to speak;

Whereas Chairman Issa’s abusive behavior on March 5 is part of a continuing pattern in which he has routinely excluded members of the Committee from investigative meetings, and has routinely provided information to the press before sharing it with Committee members;

Whereas Chairman Issa has violated Clause 1 of Rule XXIII of the Code of Official Conduct which states that “A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives strongly condemns the offensive and disrespectful manner in which Chairman Darrell E. Issa conducted the hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on March 5, 2014, during which he turned off the microphones of the Ranking Member while he was speaking and adjourned the hearing without a vote or a unanimous consent agreement.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    When we do something about Harry openly calling the American people liars, then we should worry about this.

    • kdawgg2

      I guess when we can do the same thing about Mitch (No to anything Obama)McConnell, John (Bomb Iran) McCain, Ms (Benghazi) Graham, Raphael (Shut Down the Government) Cruz and less we not forget John( Defund Obama Care times 50) Bohner, Yes, makes sense to me when one sees every fault except their own. Go figure.

    • Raylusk

      Prove he did.

      • Layla

        Do you read the papers?

        • notfondoflibs

          Please excuse Raylusk. He is as clueless as the day he was born.

        • Raylusk

          I do. But I do it with comprehension. Reid called out the Koch brothers. He also called out the fake adds being broadcast against the ACA. He never called the American people liars. So I’ll say the same thing I did before, prove he did. Or can’t you because it simply isn’t true?

      • notfondoflibs

        Where the H have you been pal? Or don’t you pay attention to anything other than your diminishing IQ?

        • Raylusk

          You can’t prove anything so you try to make yourself feel like a big man by acting tough on the internet.

          • notfondoflibs

            Are you out of your mind pal? It was national news when Harry Reid stood on the Senate floor and announced that all the so called horror stories about Obamacare were nothing but lies. Get a clue nitwit. I don’t have to act tough on the internet, I just speak the truth. If you don’t like it, too bad little boy. Maybe you should spend less time reading the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos. Man, you are incredibly un-informed. Then again, maybe you’re still in 3rd grade. Have a good one.

          • Brucew56

            @Raylusk Sorry, pal, we gotcha on this one. Go watch FoxNews and get the truth for a change!

          • Raylusk

            Fox News lies about everything. You don’t have me on this one. Now piss off loser.

          • Brucew56

            @Raylusk Just cannot stand to hear the truth. Yes, we have you. Can’t be denied. It’s on the tape. Called all who have lost their plans and doctors liars. What a guy, but your hero, right?

          • Raylusk

            No he didn’t call all who lost their plans liars. You are clueless.

          • Brucew56

            @Raylusk And you – aren’t dealing from a full deck!

          • theminx


      • Brucew56

        @Raylusk Another low info liberal. The video of Hairy’s shameful speech has only been on television for over a week! Oh, sorry, guess you wouldn’t know because MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN probably didn’t let liberals see that a**hole’s speech on the Senate floor!

      • Brucew56
        • Raylusk

          He didn’t call Americans liars. He said some do. As far as the Obamacare claims, not a single one if them has stood up to any sort of investigation. The one about the cancer patient not being able to get her drug was her fault. Instead of using the State navigators to find the right coverage for her she called insurance companies on her own. She then was made a promise by the insurance company she used that her cancer drugs would be covered. She never got the evidence of coverage that she should have requested to make sure she is covered. It was her fault that she decided she could take care of this with out any help and it is the fault of the insurance company for not covering the drugs as promised. She could have used the ACA as intended but she went off on her own and got screwed. Blaming it on the ACA is a lie.

          By the way you conservatives claim to be about personal responsibility. So why don’t you hold this lady responsible for the problem she caused? Why don’t you call her out on the deceptive add she is participating in? Why don’t you call out the Koch brothers for putting these lies on television and the radio?

          • Brucew56

            @Raylusk Go read the transcript of his comments. Hairy said “Every one of the cases were a lie.” He is a hateful, corrupt politician. You libs just cannot accept the whole process was a sham that Americans didn’t want, is a TOTALLY DEM FIASCO, supported by the Liar in Chief. It will soon either collapse or be repealed. Obumble will impeached for abuse of power with executive orders. He will go down in shame as the worst president ever.

          • Raylusk

            Impeached? Hahaha. You are a clueless child. He won’t be impeached. You conservatives have been calling for his impeachment since 2009 shortly after he was elected and it hasn’t happened. Plus even if he was impeached then what? He won’t be removed from office because it requires 67 Senators to vote for his removal. Where are you going to get those 67 votes. Even if the republicans take the Senate this year at best they would have 51 or 52 votes. You conservatives have this fantasy that you can remove him from office just because you hate him. You can’t so get over it.

            Now I will repeat this again because you apparently missed it. So far every claim about people losing doctors or medications in these Koch soponsered adds have been disproved. They are in fact lies and the Americans participating in them are liars. That is the truth. If you idiots can’t accept that then too effing bad.

            Now why don’t you answer my questions about personal responsibility above and about the fact that you conservatives who claim to be about personal responsibility won’t call out the idiot who screwed up her insurance decisions on the fact that they were her decisions. Come on little man put up or shut the f up.

          • Buddy Rogers

            Thanks for giving a demonstration on how to speak “Clintonese”

    • pmorton

      Are you sure the Koch brothers are Americans? Sounds German to me.

    • Truth Be Told

      I don’t have a problem calling a liar and liar. And he didn’t call the American PEOPLE liars. He singled out the Koch brothers.

      • migtex1234

        Reid did call all citizens, who had horrible problems in receiving medical care MADE UP LIARS.

        • Raylusk

          No he said the adds being run against the ACA are false. And so far everyone of them have been proven to be so.

          • uselogic19

            And you’ve proven to be a blithering idiot.

          • Raylusk

            Nice comeback. No proof of anything but name calling always helps.

          • Brucew56

            @Rayluck You are 100% right and never call names, right?

          • Raylusk

            I’m certainly more right than you. I also say things that are verifiable. I never said I didn’t call names. When an idiot like you repeatedly avoid questions and facts I do call you names. All because you deserve it.

      • Buddy Rogers

        You are a LIAR, liar.

  • PrezNixon

    It is sad when the person the Republicans put in charge of investigating whether people are following the rules, fails to follow the rules. He has disqualified himself.

  • disqus_HhnCjB1gaw

    issa is a creep

    • shamu9

      Trolling Trolling! The Trolls are out today!

      • Nicholas DeLuca

        The Tea Party Ignorati are out today and everyday.

    • Brucew56

      And Cummings is a phony!

  • Ed Campbell

    Issa’s a proto-fascist. Boehner’s just another coward.

  • Marie

    Why is it racist if a white group decided to bring an action against a Black congressperson, and not racist for the Black cautious to do so against Issa. Some of us (white) folks just ponder on this ???? P.S. Hope my question will not ruffle any feathers!

    • Raylusk

      Why don’t you comment on the substance of the article instead of being a troll? I hope my comment does ruffle your feathers.

    • pmorton

      Where’s the racist part? I missed that.

    • Truth Be Told

      If the black Congressman had behaved toward a White Congressman the way Issa did with Cummings I had o problem.

      Please proceed.

      • Marie

        Well I guess the congress solved the problem of Issa’s gavel today.

      • Brucew56

        Cummings didn’t want to ask a question. He wanted to make a political statement. The Hearing Was Adjourned!

  • Layla

    Wasn’t it Mr. Cummings who got up and WALKED OUT on the families of those killed at Benghazi?

    • Truth Be Told

      Focus, Layla. Focus.

      And no. I don’t believe he did.

    • precursor

      Cummings remained….but here is a list of those who walked out…

      Here’s a list of the lawmakers who walked out:

      Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
Danny Davis, D-Ill.

      Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.
Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.
Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

      John Tierney, D-Mass.
Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.

      Matt Cartwright, D-Penn.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.

      .Peter Welch, D-Vt.
Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.

      Steven Horsford, D-Nev.
Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

      Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.
William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.

      they should all be thrown out of congress.

  • migtex1234

    Horrible example to young people for this awful man and his rant. What a sorry excuse for person in congress.

  • Milehigh_SDfan

    Darrell Issa is a known liar in San Diego, a car thief and generally a despicable person. His actions are no surprise, it is normal behavior for this creep.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    I listened with my own ears as Harry said that everything being said about the hardships some have faced due to the new healthcare were all lies. It was very clear and he didn’t stumble over his words. He does not want to hear anything but that it is a great plan and everyone is happy with it. The fact that it has hurt many people and confused many more makes no difference to him. Why is that not a problem? I don’t care whether a Dem or Rep put this plan in place, it was not thought through and has created a crisis in the healthcare field. Pretending like it hasn’t doesn’t make it go away. What we need in all areas is a group of people who will work together to solve problems and stop worrying about which side wins. If they could all take the politics out of it and make decisions for the benefit of the whole country, we would have something. I did not say Issa was right for the way he acted, but only that we seem to pick and choose what we want to stand up against. I don’t think Mr. Cummings could have been more offended than I was at being called a Liar.

  • George Blumel

    Why does a federal employee take the 5th instead of answering questions about what went on under her? if she was innocent, she would answer the questions of the committee. Do the career politicians call her in contempt of congress for not answering? NO!–they instead condemn the questioner. How corrupt and screwed up is this congress? As bad as it gets.
    What makes it worse is that this group, the Congressional Black Caucus, racist by definition, piles on. If they had any integrity they’d organize by issue or principle and not by the color of their skin. What does skin color have to do with anything?

  • Kelsonus

    Whiney little CLBC
    Making a mountain out of a molehill
    When they make a molehill out of the issue of IRS targeting…

  • Gyst53

    What rules! Ms. Lerner claimed her 5th Amendment right, therefore the purpose of the meeting was meaningless and therefore adjourned by the Committee Chair!
    OF Senator HARRY REID and his change of Filibuster Rules in the Senate!


    How about we hear some outrage from the Congressional WHITE Caucus? Politics is a dirty business, get used to it or pack up your tents……When you leave the safety of the Plantation for the arena, best not to be crying how you’re being treated…….

  • lordhelmet

    Obama should be impeached for this IRS scandal and every democrat acting as an apologist for this criminal should be removed from office. Cummings included along with that corrupt socialist racist congressional black caucus.

  • DeadmensFingers

    It’s so predictable.
    If things get uncomfortable for the self-styled “Progressives”, they try to distract,
    deflect, and introduce a change of subject. The idiotic charge of “racism” is par for the course, and is just part of the political theater they perpetrate on the American public.

  • Brucew56

    Keep playing that race card! Grow up and stop whining. You’ll nit get respect until ghost happens and neither will your followers!

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