Floor Statement of Rep. Carolyn Maloney on a Question of Personal Privilege

Press Contact: 
Jon Houston (202) 225-7944

M- Speaker, I rise today to address an attack on my integrity and my reputation.

Last week, Representative Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on which I have served for many years, gave an interview to a newspaper
in San Diego.

The story was published on March 21, and it quoted the gentleman as accusing me of lying, knowingly and intentionally, during a hearing that was held before the Oversight Committee on February 16.

That hearing received a significant amount of public attention because it addressed the issue  of insurance for reproductive health care yet included no witness testifying on behalf of millions of women across the country who seek access to coverage for reproductive health and contraception.

I certainly understand that Members on both sides of the aisle have different viewpoints on this issue, and I am not here to discuss the underlying policy differences we may have.  

Today, I ask from Mr. Issa the same commitment I ask of myself:  to always strive to hear from all sides of a debate without resorting to name-calling or attacks on the personal integrity of others.

Even when we disagree with what others might say, we have an obligation to listen to them and respect their viewpoint.

I am sure there are some who will accuse me of using these remarks to merely revisit the contraception issue.

To the contrary, I am responding to statements published just last week by the gentleman from California—his statements regarding my actions.

Mr. Speaker, rising for a point of personal privilege is sometimes accompanied by a call for a personal apology.

Earlier today, Mr. Issa apologized to me, and he sent me this letter just an hour or two ago. I am encouraged by his actions, and I accept his apology.

In the fallout from that unfortunate hearing, women were called far worse than “liars”.

I know what I said and I know it to be true.

But I do think the women of America are owed an apology... an apology for denying them a voice... and an apology for denying them a place at the table

It was wrong then. It is wrong each time it happens. And it is especially wrong when women’s health, women’s lives, and women’s rights are being discussed.

And to cavalierly dismiss or deny that fact does greater damage to the fabric of democracy than words can ever redress.

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Link to original Issa interview: http://www.ranchosantafereview.com/2012/03/21/a-conversation-with-rep-darrell-issa/

Link to Issa letter: http://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/govreform/20120327IssaLetter.pdf

Link to photo of first panel at oversight hearing: maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/women/IMG_0470Allmlecontraceptionpanel.JPG