06.12.17

Leahy, Shaheen Request AG Sessions Appear Before The Appropriations Committee

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) Monday released a letter to Senator Cochran, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Senator Shelby, Chairman of the Subcommittee of Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, asking that the hearing on the FY2018 budget request for the Department of Justice be postponed until Attorney General Sessions is available to attend as a witness.  Sessions abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance before the subcommittee over the weekend, for the second time in as many months. 

Leahy and Shaheen wrote: “This raises the question of whether the Attorney General is attempting to avoid oversight of this committee, and it certainly does not obviate his responsibility to answer questions of this committee.  We must not enable the Attorney General to avoid public scrutiny by our committee out of concern that such testimony would be embarrassing.  That is exactly why our committee’s oversight function and traditions are so important.”

Sessions’ cancellation is highly unusual and breaks from a long, bipartisan history of cooperation with the committee’s role in overseeing government agencies.  The Appropriations Committee serves a crucial role in conducting oversight of all of the agencies under its jurisdiction, and that includes direct questioning of each agency head in an open forum.  As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General is the appropriate person to testify on the work of the Department of Justice, not his deputy.

You can read the full letter HERE

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