Republicans circled around Rep. Darrell Issa on Thursday, rejecting a Democratic effort to censure the House’s top investigator after he cut off the microphone of the top Democrat on the oversight committee Wednesday during a heated hearing.
GOP lawmakers defeated a resolution chastising Mr. Issa, and House Speaker John A. Boehner gave Mr. Issa qualified backing, saying the congressman was within his rights to end Wednesday’s hearing after former IRS employee Lois G. Lerner refused to answer questions about the tax agency’s tea party targeting.
The vote was 211-186 to table the resolution, effectively killing it. Ten lawmakers voted “present.”
“It is part of a pattern of abuse of power to shut down other views from being heard,” she said.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s top Democrat, asked to be recognized and Mr. Issa said he would entertain a question, but when Mr. Cummings began a statement criticizing the IRS investigation, Mr. Issa had the microphones cut and left the room.
Mr. Cummings finished his statement while Ms. Lerner sat at the witness table, but it was done without the benefit of the public address system and without any Republicans remaining to hear him.
Thursday’s resolution condemning Mr. Issa’s behavior was sponsored by Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
She said Mr. Issa violated several rules of the House governing decorum, and broke oversight committee rules by refusing to give other members a chance to question Ms. Lerner. In a letter to Mr. Boehner, she called for Mr. Issa to be ousted as chairman.
Mr. Boehner dismissed that idea.