Top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa announced he will sit with the previous chairman of the House oversight committee at the State of the Union, Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns, in a move he says shows his willingness to move beyond “partisan entrenchments.”
The move comes as Towns’ replacement, the newly appointed top Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, is staking out a role of combative foil willing to fight for every inch.
Issa and Towns got along well during Towns’ tenure as chairman over the last two years, but many Democrats saw Towns as a weak leader of the committee unable to keep Issa in check.
Today, the contrast between the genial Towns-Issa relationship and the increasingly bitter Towns-Cummings relationship is particularly palpable as the two have traded warring letters over the direction of the committee.
“We cannot advance the solutions needed to address the challenges facing our nation unless we are first willing to move beyond the partisan entrenchments that too often stand in the way of progress,” Issa and Towns said in a joint statement.
“The work we do at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is instrumental in fulfilling our obligation to the American people to ensure that we are better stewards of their tax-dollars and that government is as transparent and accountable as possible.”
Towns is said to harbor significant bitterness over his ouster from the committee’s top Democratic slot.