Skip to comments.Congress AWOL at Ridge Briefings
Posted on 03/24/2002 2:15:59 PM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
House and Senate Democrats who complain the White House isn't keeping them briefed on what Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge is up to are being more than a little bit disingenuous.
In fact, Ridge's office has conducted nearly 100 closed-door information sessions where Senators and House members can fire off any question they'd like.
The problem, according to U.S. News & World Report's "Washington Whispers," is that most congressmen and women don't even bother to attend to Ridge briefings.
White House officials told "Whispers" that "top Bush aides from virtually every department - including Ridge's - have met 88 times with lawmakers to discuss the situation.
"But, gripes a senior Bush aide: 'Hardly anybody ever shows up.' One big private session, for example, attracted only 20 House members."
Apparently lawmakers shun the private briefings because they don't afford much of an opportunity to showboat and grandstand.
"When we give a closed-door briefing, there are no tv cameras to mug for," the White House aide observed.
Yeah, the whole thing stinks of "Fishing Expedition"
Of course Congress has a right to be informed about spending matters, after all they hold the purse and must apporpriate funds.. It would be shirking their duty not to ask for some accountability.
But this revelation just gives their agenda away. It's all about dragging Ridge before some committe and grilling the crap out of him till they find something to beat him (and Dubya) over the head with.
I am not a big Tom Ridge fan actually, but he's doing the right thing here by not setting a precident for future fishing expeditions and providing accountability and access.
It's hard to fault him after reading this, so maybe the dims will finally shut up and pursue other, more entertaining methods of obstruction.
All they want him for is one of their world famous dog and pony shows.
We can debate whether or not a "Homeland Security Director" is needed at all, but if one is, then it properly belongs on the White House staff with a coordination and advisory mission similar to the role filled by the National Security Advisor. We already have the Departments of Interior, Justice, HHS, etc., plus various sub-cabinet agencies that all have a piece of the "homeland security" mission. What the President wanted was someone to help create an overarching national policy and coordinated direction. Basically, someone at the White House level to resolve turf battles.
So FReepers, be vigilant about this one.