WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Explosive exchange. A Maryland congressman and a prominent committee chair got into a heated argument on Capitol Hill. The war of words highlights serious tensions between Republicans and Democrats.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with the congressman Wednesday.
Congressman Elijah Cummings says he wants an apology after his microphone was cut off in a committee hearing.
“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America,” he said. “I am tired of this.”
It was a fiery outburst from Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. It happened as former IRS official Lois Lerner was questioned about whether the organization targeted conservative groups. She didn’t give many answers.
“I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question,” she said.
So Committee Chairman Darrell Issa adjourned.
“I can see no point in going further,” Issa said.
But Cummings demanded to be heard, saying, “May I ask my question? May I make my statement?” His microphone was eventually cut off.
“This is not the first time that this has happened. He’s shut down the mics of other Democrats in the past. If he doesn’t want to hear something, then he shuts down people,” Cummings said.
But Issa says with Lerner taking the fifth, there was no point in continuing the hearing.
“It may well be that we have gotten to the bottom of it. At this point, roads lead to Ms. Lerner, the witness who took the fifth,” he said.
In a letter, House Democrats call Issa’s behavior “disrespectful,” “abusive” and a “political spectacle.”
But political analyst Richard Vatz says both congressmen were inappropriate.
“They really kind of defiled the House of Representatives and the conventions that they have to avoid political invective,” Vatz said.
Republicans say they will continue their IRS investigation.
After the hearing, Issa accused Cummings of slandering him.
Lerner could potentially be held in contempt for refusing to answer questions.
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