Top Democrats Call for End to House GOP's Abuse of Power, Demand Vote to Condemn Issa's Actions
Washington, DC (Mar. 6, 2014)—Today, House Democrats stood in solidarity on the House Floor and filed a privileged resolution that condemns the actions of Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa for violating House Rules during yesterday’s hearing on the IRS when he tried to silence Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings by deliberately cutting off his microphone.
The resolution, offered by Rep. Marcia Fudge, states: “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 recorded vote or a unanimous consent agreement.”
Today, for the first time, the top Democrats on several Committees came together to call on House Republicans to stop wasting taxpayer money and resources obstructing the legislative process and shutting out Democrats for political gain, and instead, focus on the priorities of Americans. Participants included the top Democrats on five House Committees, Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Sandy Levin (D-MI), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Ranking Members of the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary, Ways and Means, Rules, and the Budget respectively.
Congressman Elijah Cummings (MD-07), Ranking Member on House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:“I understand that House Republicans have already called it quits in terms of legislating any more this year, but the result is that all they have left are these reckless and abusive investigations. This is a huge waste of taxpayer resources, and it does absolutely nothing for the American people. We need to do the work that the American people elected us to do.”
Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), Ranking Member on House Committee on the Judiciary: “In recent months, the Majority’s agenda has been disheartening and their leadership wanting. The public business of the Judiciary Committee has been bogged down by partisan messaging bills - with no chance of passage - simply to pander to their conservative base. The situation is shameful. Yet, it does not have to be like this; I remember a time - not too long ago - where meaningful, bipartisan reform was considered, thoughtful legislation was debated, and the Committee process worked. At some point we need to lay down the legislative armor and do something simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
Congressman Sandy Levin (MI-09), Ranking Member on House Committee on Ways and Means: “House Republicans are desperate to keep their baseless allegations alive, even if it means silencing the truth by turning off microphones. The endless Republican drive to appeal to the Tea Party and taint the White House has pushed them to new extremes.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Ranking Member on House Committee on Rules: “We have reached the boiling point. What has happened in this place week after week in the House of Representatives is nothing short of legislative malpractice. Think about the money that is being wasted here week after week to make a political statement—it’s costing us not just in terms of infrastructure, education, and healthcare, but it’s costing us our self-respect and the way we look to the rest of the people in this world.”
Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Ranking Member on House Committee on the Budget:“Last fall, by changing the rules to keep the government shutdown, Republicans suspended democracy in the full House of Representatives. What we saw yesterday was democracy being suspended in House committees. As a result of the abuse of power we saw from Chairman Issa, we’re not able to focus on the things that are important to the American people – creating more jobs and expanding opportunity to more people.”
Yesterday, every Democratic Member of Oversight Committee sent a letter to Chairman Issa calling on him to apologize immediately for denying Ranking Member Cummings his right under House Rules to speak at the IRS hearing.