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house Bill H.R. 5019

Should the White House Report to Congress on the Status of Employees With Security Clearances?

Argument in favor

The White House shouldn’t be able to provide interim security clearances to employees indefinitely without notifying Congress. This bill would bring more accountability and oversight to the security clearance process for those who work closely to president.

JustinHouser's Opinion
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02/22/2018
Yes to anything that improves transparency. Especially with this administration.
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Donna's Opinion
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02/22/2018
These people are employees of the American people. We have the right to know which members of the White House staff have access to our top classified information without the appropriate clearance. There are American citizens unable to clear a background check and secure (or lose) jobs as a result. I am tired of the White House staff thinking they are to be treated differently just because DJT was elected president. If Marco Rubio, or any other republican, were in the Oval Office, most of these staff members would be nowhere near any classified information. The White House needs to let the American public (which it serves) the status of every security clearance for every staff member - YESTERDAY. Democracy can only survive through transparency. This administration is the most opaque in recent times and that makes them potentially dangerous.
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Brandon's Opinion
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02/22/2018
This needs bipartisan support, or it will never take off. Keep in mind that when the pendulum swings and Democrats are in power, this will affect them as well.
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Argument opposed

The White House needs to operate as it sees fit, and Congress doesn’t have the authority to oversee the process used to grant security clearances to White House employees. This bill’s authors want to score political points more than they want transparency.

operaman's Opinion
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02/22/2018
Nah, let's just leave it under the same condition as the Obama WH. Libs are always looking for a crack to infect the integrity of the WH. Oh my gosh, a liberal progressive Democrat is a sponsor of this bill. My, my, what a surprise!
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Tooluser1's Opinion
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02/22/2018
No. This is a partisan nightmare that violates the separation of powers.
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Jeffrey's Opinion
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02/24/2018
The executive branch doesn't answer to the legislative on all employees security clearance, any more than the executive branch could influence any Congressional staffer with a security clearance.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5019?

This bill — known as the CLEARANCES Act — would require the White House to report regularly on the status of security clearance holders working in the Executive Office of the President in an effort to promote accountability and oversight of who has access to classified information. It would cover the president’s staff, and anyone who is detailed from a government agency, university, think tank, or the private sector to work at the White House or the Office. The first report would be due within three months of this bill’s enactment and subsequent reports due every three months thereafter.

The report would include:

  • The name and position of any individual working in the White House or the Office who holds a security clearance, and for detainees the entity or agency they were detailed from.

  • Whether the clearance is temporary or permanent and the level of the clearance, along with the date the background check investigation began and any interim reports or notifications from the investigation.

  • The name and position of any covered individual who was granted a security clearance despite an unfavorable recommendation from the White House Security Office and when that decision occurred.

  • The name and position of any individual who wasn’t contained in any above list whom the president has provided access to classified information, the date the information was provided, and the level of classification of the information.

  • The name and position of any covered individual whose security clearance has been revoked or suspended and when that occurred, or who held an interim security clearance for more than one year and an explanation from the White House Counsel as to why it is in the national security interest of the U.S. to keep them in the position without a permanent clearance.

Under current law, the president can keep employees on staff with an interim security clearance indefinitely without notifying Congress.

The bill's full title is the Commonsense Legislation Ensuring Accountability by Reporting Access of Non-Cleared Employees to Secrets Act.

Impact

Employees of the White House and the Office of the President with permanent or temporary security clearances; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5019

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced this bill to bring more accountability and oversight to the process of granting security clearances to White House employees:

“As we’ve seen, transparency hasn’t come so easy to the Trump White House. White House officials have repeatedly contradicted themselves on whether they allowed Rob Porter to have an interim security clearance despite concerns over allegations of domestic abuse. Aside from the moral failings, we’re looking at potentially dangerous breaches in our national security protocols. What’s worse is that, despite our oversight duties, Members of Congress have no mechanism to figure out who in the White House has access to classified information and whether they are doing so under an interim clearances.
I’ve asked, time and again, why people like Jared Kushner have security clearances despite repeatedly failing to properly disclose information on clearance forms. By using interim security clearances, the White House is circumventing an essential process that ensures government officials handling classified information are not vulnerable to blackmail or manipulation. As Members of Congress, we have a duty to ensure that classified information is properly safeguarded.”

This legislation has the support of 28 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: OlegAlbinsky / iStock)

AKA

CLEARANCES Act

Official Title

To amend title 5, United States Code, to require a quarterly report on security clearances for individuals working in the White House or the Executive Office of the President, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2018
    Yes to anything that improves transparency. Especially with this administration.
    Like (150)
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    Nah, let's just leave it under the same condition as the Obama WH. Libs are always looking for a crack to infect the integrity of the WH. Oh my gosh, a liberal progressive Democrat is a sponsor of this bill. My, my, what a surprise!
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    These people are employees of the American people. We have the right to know which members of the White House staff have access to our top classified information without the appropriate clearance. There are American citizens unable to clear a background check and secure (or lose) jobs as a result. I am tired of the White House staff thinking they are to be treated differently just because DJT was elected president. If Marco Rubio, or any other republican, were in the Oval Office, most of these staff members would be nowhere near any classified information. The White House needs to let the American public (which it serves) the status of every security clearance for every staff member - YESTERDAY. Democracy can only survive through transparency. This administration is the most opaque in recent times and that makes them potentially dangerous.
    Like (106)
    Follow
    Share
    This needs bipartisan support, or it will never take off. Keep in mind that when the pendulum swings and Democrats are in power, this will affect them as well.
    Like (47)
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    This is important. As a veteran, I’m appalled that civilians have access to sensitive information that could compromise our security.
    Like (46)
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    No one in the WH is above the law.
    Like (37)
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    This is one of the most important issues for any administration to be held accountable to the American people who can and cannot be trusted to view and have access to Top Secret government material. This cannot be compromised anytime. They must be held accountable.
    Like (32)
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    Absolutely
    Like (14)
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    Absolutely. They need to be held to the same standards as all federal employees.
    Like (12)
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    Clearly oversight is needed in this case where Trump just does whatever he wants and people fearful for their jobs just acquiesce whether it’s lawful or not. So yea oversight.
    Like (11)
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    Congress needs to oversee this issue. We should not have people in these positions who cannot obtain a security clearance.
    Like (10)
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    But more importantly no one should be allowed to work with temporary clearance. This is yet another example of government not following the same rules as its citizens. We go through background checks just to work at McDonalds. Guess what? If we can’t clear them we don’t work. Plain and simple common sense. NO MORE HYPOCRISY!!
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    Yes and asap. Publish the names of all 130 uncleared Federal Employees and share with Congress the reasons why they can’t pass muster. (I sell s/w and couldn’t be hired without passing a background check😳). SO YES! #ResponsibleOversight
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    Without question. Why is it ok for Ivanka Trump having no permanent security clearance, &!zero experience in foreign affairs to brief the South Korean President on North Korea sanctions? That is utter madness & nobody in congress has their hair on fire? More utter madness.
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    Given the current security abuses going on in there? Hell yes, it should. What's more, let's have a law that prohibits candidates who do not qualify for top security clearance from even being ELIGIBLE for the office!
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    Wonderful idea
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    Of course and congress should kick anyone out who has not been able to get permanent security clearance
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    In this Administration I particular this should be done. It seems far too many in the WH don’t have proper clearances...perhaps because they’re s bunch of criminals/crooks?
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    I probably would not have given it much thought before. Now with this administration....yes they do.
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    It's obvious.
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