Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, January 31st, 2017.

Does Bannon’s Role at the NSC Require Senate Confirmation?

Trump Maladministration

A number of bloggers are reporting that Stephen Bannon cannot be appointed to a permanent seat on the National Security Council without Senate confirmation. But so far I haven’t seen this in the mainstream press anywhere.

Here’s the pertinent statute, from the Cornell Law School site — 50 U.S. Code § 3021:

(a) Establishment; presiding officer; functions; composition

There is established a council to be known as the National Security Council (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Council”).

The President of the United States shall preside over meetings of the Council: Provided, That in his absence he may designate a member of the Council to preside in his place.

The function of the Council shall be to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and the other departments and agencies of the Government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving the national security.

The Council shall be composed of—

(1) the President;

(2) the Vice President;

(3) the Secretary of State;

(4) the Secretary of Defense;

(5) the Secretary of Energy; and

(6) the Secretaries and Under Secretaries of other executive departments and of the military departments, when appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at his pleasure.

Now, that seems to say that anyone appointed to the NSC as a permanent member who is not covered by (1) through (5) requires Senate confirmation. So why is nobody talking about holding a hearing for Bannon’s appointment to the Council?

It might be that someone like the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who apparently used to be a regular member, was not subject to confirmation, so maybe this rule gets waived a lot. But it also seems to me that someone who is, in effect, one of the President’s flunkies (officially, he is Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the un-POTUS, an obvious political role) would not be automatically waived.

Does anyone want to chime in on this?


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