The Democrat set to face off against Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on the House Oversight panel suggested brokering an agreement between Issa and the Obama administration on the public release of sensitive information to congressional investigators.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the incoming ranking member of the committee, said it might be possible to negotiate a compromise that would avoid exposing national security secrets or other privileged information.
"I think that Mr. Issa and I should sit down and try to figure this out. Make sure the country isn't being threatened," Cummings said on Monday during an appearance on MSNBC.
"Maybe sit down with the administration and maybe work out a plan so we can get the information we need," he added.
Issa announced an expansive list of investigations he plans to launch after becoming chairman on Wednesday, when the new House is sworn into office. The California Republican has promised to be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration, which he's called one of the "most corrupt" in recent history.
Cummings will assume the ranking member spot, succeeding Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who was ousted after two years as the committee's chairman. He expressed alarm at the new Republican chairman's aggressive plans to investigate the White House and other areas of government over the next two years.
Cummings accused Issa of jumping to conclusions, and said he feared the Republican might abuse his power to subpoena virtually any government official to testify in investigations against the administration. Such vast power, Cummings said, should concern members of the Tea Party movement, too.