Issa apologizes to Cummings for cutting off mic during hearing

March 7, 2014 at 10:01 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., apologized to Elijah Cummings, D-Md., for cutting him off during a hearing on alleged IRS abuses.

"I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed him to make a second statement. As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility," Issa told U-T San Diego in an interview published Thursday.

Issa called the situation "an unfortunate incident" and said he and Cummings, the committee's top Democrat, talked about how they "do a better job going forward."

In a statement, Cummings said, "This evening, Chairman Issa telephoned me and apologized for his conduct, and I accepted his apology."

"My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict,"

The move came after the Congressional Black Caucus petitioned Speaker John Boehner to strip Issa's chairmanship for his behavior at Wednesday's hearing. A resolution condemning Issa's actions failed to pass the House.

A video of Issa-Cummings confrontation came after Issa abruptly adjourned the meeting after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned about accusations the agency targeted conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Cummings exploded when Issa refused to allow him make a statement and ask a question.

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