By Sara Jerome - 01/24/11 09:37 PM EST
After Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) accused House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) of abusing his subpoena power on Monday, Issa's office shot back in part by speculating on the maneuverings that resulted in the Cummings's ascent to ranking member.
Cummings leapfrogged members with greater seniority to assume the role, a subject of considerable chatter when Democratic committee slots still hung in the balance.
On the same day that Cummings accused the committee chairman of returning to "unilateral" use of subpoenas, a spokesman for Issa provided one narrative on why Cummings got his job.
"Rep. Cummings obtained this position by convincing his caucus that he would be a better obstructionist than Chairman [Edolphus] Towns [D-N.Y.] or his more senior colleague, Carolyn Maloney [D-N.Y.]," he said. "Since assuming the position as ranking member, it is evident that obstruction is the only agenda Mr. Cummings in interested in pursuing."
Democratic committee members will have to weigh whether they want to follow Cummings's "unilateral obstructionism," according to Issa's spokesman.
"The bottom line is, Mr. Cummings’ aggressive pursuit of obstructionism will not in any way diminish the commitment House Republicans have made to the American people to pursue an agenda that seeks to make government more transparent and more accountable," Issa's spokesman said.
For an in-depth look at the dynamic between minority and majority on the Oversight Committee, see this piece in The Hill.