Issa shows Towns some love at portrait unveiling

On Tuesday night, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) showered props on Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) as Towns’s chairman portrait was unveiled in the panel’s hearing room in Rayburn.

“This is the best day you could have as a chairman,” Issa told Towns before a crowd of more than 60 members and staffers assembled for the unveiling. “Because it’s the day that I can stand next to the chairman before me, of either party, and say, ‘This guy is my friend. This guy is tough as hell. This guy was denying me my witnesses, and as chairman, I’m sure he liked to short me on time.’ ”

The crowd laughed, prompting the notoriously gregarious Issa to pick up steam.

“Let’s see, what can I say about Ed? He seemed to always have a field hearing in Brooklyn coming up ... but, seriously, he is a chairman’s chairman, who dealt with both sides with ... cheerfulness.”

Issa also said he looked forward to Towns’s portrait replacing that of former chairman and fellow Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.).

“I’m looking forward to Ed’s picture displacing John Conyers,” he said to laughs, “but only because John left the committee. I mean, the guy’s not even here, he’s next door [at the Judiciary Committee] and he thinks his picture should hang here!”

Towns and Issa both cracked up.

“But what I’m really looking forward to is you sitting underneath that picture for a long, long time.”