February 27, 2014

I was disappointed this month when Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) left a hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on the Affordable Care Act, without taking questions. A day earlier, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had concluded that a provision in the act, which Mr. Rubio was testifying about, was not a “bailout” to insurance companies, as he claimed, but in fact would generate $8 billion for U.S. taxpayers. Although I had prepared questions and was assured that committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) would allow them, this plan apparently changed after the CBO report came out.

After Dana Milbank wrote a Washington Sketch column [Feb. 6] highlighting Mr. Rubio’s “fact-free approach” and Mr. Issa’s decision to abandon questioning, Mr. Issa wrote a letter [“Misinterpreting a lack of questions,” Feb. 20] suggesting that this was my fault — that I told him during the hearing that I had no questions for Mr. Rubio. This is inaccurate and makes no sense.

Since becoming chairman, Mr. Issa has made multiple claims with no evidence to back them up. He alleged that the FBI tampered with evidence to conceal a gun at a murder scene during the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. He accused the White House of directing the IRS to target conservative groups for political reasons. And he suggested just last week that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to “stand down” after the attacks in Benghazi, Libya — a claim The Post’s Fact Checker awarded four Pinocchios.

Rather than bickering about baseless accusations, our committee and Congress as a whole should focus on enacting solutions to help our constituents, including creating jobs, raising the minimum wage and providing quality affordable health care to millions of Americans.

Elijah E. Cummings, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the House, where he is the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.