Republicans fight Dem efforts to punish Issa for IRS hearing actions

House Republicans are fending off aggressive efforts by Democrats to punish Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for cutting off a Democratic congressman during a heated hearing on the IRS targeting scandal.

The House voted Thursday afternoon to block a resolution that would formally chastise the chairman of the House oversight committee for his conduct at Wednesday's hearing.

The vote was along party lines, 211-186, with 10 members voting present. Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, had offered the resolution, which called Issa's behavior "offensive and disrespectful."

Fudge also penned a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging the speaker to strip Issa of his chairmanship "immediately."

"Congressman Darrell Issa of California abused his authority and therefore must be reprimanded to ensure the dignity of the House of Representatives is preserved," Fudge wrote, calling him a "disgrace."

More On This...

    Boehner, though, brushed off the Democratic complaints.

    "Mr. Issa was within his rights to adjourn the hearing when he did," Boehner said.

    Issa acknowledged to Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Thursday night that he could have sat back down and allowed Cummings to speak but still defended his actions, saying he was completely within his right to adjourn the hearing.

    Issa said that he broke no rules, and accused Cummings of breaking the "decorum" of the House by deciding to throw a "hissy fit."

    Issa shut down the committee hearing on Wednesday when the IRS official at the center of the scandal involving targeting of conservative groups, Lois Lerner, again invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked a series of questions.

    In doing so, Issa cut off Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings' microphone as Cummings, the panel's top Democrat, continued to speak.

    "You cannot just have a one-sided investigation," Cummings shouted. "There is absolutely something wrong with that. That is absolutely un-American."

    Issa, though, defended his actions and told reporters after the hearing: "He was not directing questions toward the witness and the committee [had] already adjourned."

    He later told Fox News that Cummings "was simply endlessly slandering the efforts of the committee."

    Members of both parties, though, have apparently criticized Issa's actions.

    During a press conference on Thursday, Cummings said several Republicans on the committee apologized to him for Issa's actions.

    A senior House Republican aide told Fox News that "Issa needs to learn self-control. Now all of our members have to defend his poor actions."

    Some of the Democratic criticism, though, has become increasingly personal.

    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz linked cutting the microphone to oppression in Venezuela and Ukraine.

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Issa's behavior "crude, wrong, racist and mean."

    Issa and Cummings are not yet back on speaking terms.

    Fox News' James Schneider and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.