Split Persists Over McChrystal Testimony
By Ben Pershing
A key Democratic leader reiterated Tuesday that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should appear before Congress soon to testify on the war effort in Afghanistan, one day after the administration again made clear no such appearance was forthcoming.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, should not go to the Hill before President Obama decides on a new policy, because doing so "would put General McChrystal in an impossible situation." That has been the consistent position of the White House, even as a chorus of Republicans has called for McChrystal to visit the Capitol to explain why he believes more troops are needed.
But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) differs with the administration on this point, and he reiterated his stance at his weekly press briefing Tuesday morning, just hours before he and several key leaders and committee chairmen from both parties head to the White House to meet with Obama.
"I want to hear from the president certainly, but I also want to hear from General McChrystal," Hoyer said, adding that he had made that desire known to Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"I continue to believe and recommend that General McChrystal -- at some point in time in the relatively near future, before we make a determination as to what we should do -- testify before the Congress, and brief the Congress. Perhaps in executive session, if that's necessary, but also testify before the Congress."
By calling for McChrystal to appear before Obama decides on a new policy, Hoyer not only differs from the Pentagon but also from some fellow Democrats on the Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that it would be inappropriate for McChrystal to appear at Congressional hearings "until the president makes up his mind." The Senate voted Thursday along party lines to defeat a Defense appropriations bill amendment authored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would have forced McChrystal to testify on the Hill by Nov. 15.
Short of such legislative action or a subpoena, which doesn't appear likely, there is no way Hoyer and Hill Republicans can compel McChrystal to testify unless the administration changes its position on the subject.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she doesn't think "there's a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in the Congress." Hoyer, who has long been more hawkish than Pelosi on military matters, was more circumspect Tuesday.
"I do think there's support in Congress" for a troop increase, Hoyer said. "The question is, is there majority support in Congress? I don't know the answer to that.... I think this is a very, very thorny issue and I think it needs to be considered very very carefully."
October 6, 2009; 1:23 PM ET
Categories: Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders
Save & Share: Previous: Pressure Mounts on Snowe, Rockefeller and Wyden
Next: Ensign: Assistance to Mistress's Husband Was Legal, Ethical
Posted by: wasaUFO | October 6, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Billw3 | October 6, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WP11231 | October 6, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WP11231 | October 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jmk55 | October 6, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: newbeeboy | October 6, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: j2hess | October 6, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: valwayne | October 6, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.