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Public Statements

Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would reduce the amount available for the National Security Council staff by $4.2 million, or by approximately one-third.

The National Security Council staff is the President's staff. They serve solely to provide advice to the President on national security matters. They have no authority to manage programs. They have no authority to allocate funds or otherwise decide spending levels. And they have no authority to determine or dictate congressional access to classified information involving sensitive military matters or operations. As the President's staff, it is appropriate that they are accountable to him, just as our staff is only accountable to us. Therefore, they are not subject to congressional questioning nor other forms of oversight.

Over the past few years, the size of the National Security Council's staff has grown, and it appears that they have moved beyond their Presidential advisory role to involve themselves in decisions which are not in their purview. Over the last few months, we have had several instances in which the National Security staff has mandated that the Department of Defense and other agencies selectively withhold information from congressional oversight committees.

While the President has constitutional authority as Commander in Chief to provide for the Nation's defense, this Congress was vested exclusively with the constitutional authority to fund that defense, a constitutional authority that is vested in the Appropriations Committee.

Mr. Chairman, it is important that all appropriate oversight committees are not restricted from the information they need to have to do their jobs.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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