January 18, 2018
The House Should Reject Section of Bill that Undermines Transparency and Accountability
WASHINGTON – Open The Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, called on the House today to reject a disturbing provision in the budget bill that would permit President Donald Trump and intelligence agencies to covertly reallocate money to from one intelligence program to another without first notifying Congress.
“Congress must remove this intelligence provision and remind itself that it has a duty to serve as a check on Executive Branch overreach,” said Open The Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “It is a mystery why any member of Congress would surrender his or her authority to keep the Administration transparent and accountable to the American people.”
For decades, presidential administrations have had to notify Congress, under Section 504 of The National Security Act, if they planned to move funding to intelligence projects that the money had not originally been allocated for. This provision would undermine this protocol and set a dangerous precedent. According to The Intercept:
Since 1947, section 504 of the National Security Act has mandated that the administration inform Congress if it intends to shift money from one intelligence project to another, if the new project has not been authorized by Congress….The spending bill currently under consideration, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, breaks with that tradition, allowing funds to “be obligated and expended notwithstanding section 504(a)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947.”
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