Issa apologizes to Cummings

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) apologized Thursday to his committee's ranking Democratic member for cutting off his microphone at the end of a hearing Wednesday, according to a local report.

Issa told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he personally apologized to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). His apology comes after the House earlier Thursday voted down a motion to censure the chairman for his treatment of Cummings.

Issa ended a hearing on the IRS scandal Wednesday despite Cummings's attempt to make a statement and ask a question. When Cummings persisted in his effort to speak, Issa personally cut off his microphone. Cummings wound up yelling so that he could be heard, saying, "I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of this."

Issa admitted fault Thursday, after the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Cummings is a member, called for his removal as chairman of his committee.

"I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed him to make a second statement,” Issa told the Union-Tribune. “As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility."

Appearing on CNN on Thursday night, Cummings said Issa's behavior was unacceptable.

"You cannot have a situation where the minority is silenced … and prevent it from speaking one syllable," Cummings said. "That's what Issa was trying to do: preventing the minority from speaking one syllable at a hearing."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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