Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who notoriously presided over a mostly-male hearing on President Barack Obama's contraception mandate and rejected Democrats' one female witness, apologized to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday for accusing her of lying about the gender breakdown of the panel.
"I agree with your point and regret that my choice of words in an interview with a community newspaper did not reflect the collegial relationship and open communication you and I have long enjoyed," Issa wrote in a letter to Maloney.
After Maloney questioned in February why there were no women on a panel for a House hearing on contraception and religious freedom, Issa told the Rancho Sante Fe Review that her question was an "outright lie." There were two different panels for that hearing, he said, and the second panel had two female witnesses from the Republican side.
The Democrats' one female witness, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, "was never considered for the first panel and they knew it," Issa told the paper. "Had she been seated on the second panel, she would have been seated next to two women. So there is the lie."
Maloney accepted Issa's apology in a speech on the House floor Tuesday, but said he still owes an apology to the rest of the women in America for refusing to allow a female witness to testify on behalf of the contraception coverage rule and its benefits for women's health.
"I am encouraged by his actions, and I accept his apology," Maloney said. "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 to cavalierly dismiss or deny that fact does greater damage to the fabric of democracy than words can ever redress."
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