McCaskill Opens Subcommittee Doors to Public for First time in 15 Years
Senator pledges to keep fighting for transparency of full committee process
June 14, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the first time in 15 years, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, led by Chairman Claire McCaskill, today considered the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (NDAA) in open session. Every year since joining the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCaskill has objected to the secret negotiations in the full committee and forced her colleagues to vote on whether to keep the debate secret.
Today the subcommittee conducted its markup of the portion of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (NDAA) within its jurisdiction in open session. For years, the Armed Services Committee has held all debate on this legislation in secret. The NDAA funds the Pentagon budget and covers everything from the war in Afghanistan to housing for our troops and their families.
"This debate helps shape Congress's priorities when it comes to defense policy for the next year. Considering our military engagements overseas and at home, paired with the ongoing fight in Washington as it relates to spending, I think the American people have the right to know the defense priorities that are debated in these meetings. I have fought hard over the years to open the NDAA mark-up in the full Armed Services Committee and plan to try to open the full committee's negotiations once again this year. I am glad that I can set the example by showing that there is nothing to fear by allowing the American public and media to cover these important proceedings," McCaskill said.
Some members of the Armed Services Committee continue to claim that the markup needs to be conducted behind closed doors in order to protect classified information, but as McCaskill has repeatedly highlighted, the vast majority of the material debated is unclassified. Furthermore, the committee has the ability to move to closed session at any time should classified material need to be discussed. McCaskill believes that there is no need for the entire debate to be conducted in secret and out of the view of the public and will conduct the portion of the debate which she leads in public.
The Readiness and Management Subcommittee will hear debate on Tuesday on the portions of the NDAA under the jurisdiction of the committee, including the readiness levels of our troops, military construction, operations and maintenance accounts, contracting and acquisitions policy and defense energy and environment issues.
Although McCaskill has yet to win enough votes to prevent the move to closed session in full committee, she has pledged to keep fighting for more transparency and accountability in Washington by raising this objection every year until she gets the votes needed.
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