Issa Calls for Hearing on Threats Against Members

Posted March 25, 2010 at 11:28am

House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to hold a hearing on the threats Members have received after passing the health care reform bill.

Issa delivered a letter Thursday to Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) requesting the hearing. Issa’s action comes after Democratic leaders questioned whether Republicans should be doing more to calm the passions of anti-reform activists.

“I believe we must engage in a fact-based evaluation of these reports and examine them in the context of other threats whether foreign or domestic,” Issa wrote, according to a press release from his office. “I am deeply disturbed over the recent reports that Members of Congress are experiencing threats in response to their vote on the healthcare bill. In the United States of America, we take tremendous national pride in our long-standing tradition of resolving disagreements at the ballot box, not through violence.”

At a hearing Thursday, Towns said he agreed that the committee should investigate further and will have his staff look into how to “frame” such a hearing.

“I am interested in it and we will talk further on how to pursue it,” he said.

In his letter, Issa pointed to his experience with such violent threats, citing the alleged Jewish Defense League’s plot to bomb his California office n 2001. Congress, he said, needs to treat the recent threats from “extremists” as it did voter intimidation during the civil rights movement.

“Emotions are running high in our country,” he wrote. “The sooner we have a public discussion based on the facts, the sooner we will be able to return to doing our job in the proper environment — that is an environment where thoughtful debate and careful consideration rule the day.”