Darrell Issa (AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)

House Dems go to war against Darrell Issa

After disrespecting Rep. Elijah Cummings, Issa faces Democrats' wrath

Elias Isquith
March 14, 2014 6:35PM (UTC)

Democrats in the House of Representatives offered a second resolution on Thursday to reprimand California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight Committee, for his "offensive" behavior.

Predictably — and as was the case for the first such resolution — the move failed, being voted down by the majority Republicans. Yet Democrats did keep Issa's behavior in the news, which was no doubt at least part of their ultimate goal.


Issa has never been one of Democrats' favorite Republicans, but his recent fight with Rep. Elijah Cummings is the source of this latest and most forceful denunciation from Dems in the House.

At one point on the House floor, in fact, Democrats began holding up pictures on their smartphones and iPads of Issa's now infamous decision to cut Cummings' mic. GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, who was presiding over the session, demanded that Democrats put the images down, saying the move was a "violation of the House rules" and that members "are not allowed to stage an exhibition."

Explaining the resolution, Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee said, "Chairman Issa’s conduct in committee and his repeated attempts to silence Democrats is offensive and needs to be condemned. We live in a democracy, one that allows for open debate and dissension. That’s the way our framers intended for our legislative process to work, where there would be respectful debates in Congress about the important issues we face as a nation.


"However," he continued, "it seems that Chairman Issa is more interested in a one-sided political spectacle rather than having an actual impartial hearing. That’s exactly the kind of partisan behavior my constituents are fed up with."

More from HuffPo:

The resolution made a point of hitting Issa for behavior beyond his microphone follies, including the exclusion of Democrats from committee investigative meetings, and leaking details to the press that were not shared with Democrats.

Issa apologized to Cummings after the March 5 spectacle at a hearing in which former IRS official Lois Lerner refused to testify. But the resolution would have demanded a more formal mea culpa, with Issa making amends from the floor of the House. It also would have declared that Issa broke the House's code of conduct, which says members "shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

"Chairman Issa owes the American people a public apology so we can start to restore a sense of civility in Washington," Kildee said. "Chairman Issa –- and the House Republicans who continue to stand behind his actions –- simply can’t suspend democracy when it’s advantageous for them. Doing so is an abuse of power."

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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