Hearing on IRS implementation of Obamacare begins with fireworks

Posted by Kevin G. Hall on October 9, 2013 

— With the government still in shutdown mode, lawmakers are on the job doing what they do best: arguing, interrupting and accusing.

The House Committee on Oversight, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., began a hearing Wednesday into the Internal Revenue Service's implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

But it took more than 40 minutes to get to the first witness as Issa and the ranking Democrat on the panel, Maryland's Elijah Cummings, bickered over what could be entered into the record. Specifically, Issa would not allow photos to be incorporated into the hearing showing Sarah Hall Ingram, the main witness, with President George W. Bush.

When the photos were rejected, Cummings let everyone know what they were not seeing.

"What's the big deal, that we want to see pictures of the witness with President Bush?" he asked.

Cummings wanted to show that the witness had ties to the previous administration and Issa responded that his panel was not judging IRS witnesses "based on how they vote."

From there the conversation slid to personal attacks, Cummings saying he resented Chairman Issa's comments and prompting Issa to offer the odd statement, "I appreciate your resentment but I will continue."

When Cummings tried to ask another question before the witness was called, Issa shot it down "because of accusations you made in your opening statement."

If there was any hope that the recent and dismal 11 percent public=approval rating of Congress might build pressure for more partisanship and cooperation, think again.



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