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house Bill H.R. 538

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.

Glowurm's Opinion
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03/01/2019
Yep! Always! So how did the Idiot get security clearance? I AM TOTALLY CONCERNED THAT DJT, HIMSELF, IS GIVING AWAY OUR SECRETS. ESPECIALLY WHEN HE MEETS WITH DICTATORS ALL ALONE! THAT MAN IS LIKE A KID WITH SECRETS - ALMOST PEEING HIS PANTS IN HIS EAGERNESS TO TELL! GOD HELP US! WE NEED TO STOP ALL NEPOTISM NO MATTER WHO’S INVOLVED. BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN IT INVOLVES EXTREME POWER AND KNOWLEDGE LIKE THE PRESIDENCY!
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/01/2019
I think if we look at all the issues that have come up over the last two plus years it behooves Congress to know constantly who has what security clearances at all times in order to determine whether or not our country may be in danger when people with certain clearances are arrested or subjects of an investigation. This administration has shown some people should not have had the clearances they held.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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03/01/2019
Protecting the information security of the country is one of the most important primary responsibilities of government. It’s why we have the security clearance system in the first place. Frankly, why is there a interim or system AT ALL?! It’s not something to play “sort of okay” games with.
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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.

Cherie65's Opinion
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03/01/2019
The secret service does a fine job. This is more Trump hate agenda.
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ManfromNebraska's Opinion
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03/02/2019
It is not needed. Just more obstruction by poor losers democrats.
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Gregory's Opinion
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03/02/2019
The communist ruling class in DC this is what the american people vote for when you put in the socialist democrat party to make up the rules as they go along to make america suck again.
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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
    IntroducedJanuary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 538?

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. 538

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), along with Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Ruben Gallego (D-CA), reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress as part of the Restoring the Public Trust Act of 2019. This specific part of that legislative package seeks to bring more accountability and oversight to the process of granting security clearances to White House employees:

“Trump and his administration have made a mockery of government ethics, demonstrating the weak spots in our current laws. He has normalized unethical behavior in a way that was once unthinkable, proving that we need stronger ethics laws. The damage that Trump has done to the public’s confidence in its government won’t be easy to fix but this bill ensures that those gaping holes in our anticorruption and ethics laws are addressed. In doing so, we will course correct our government to ensure it is working for the people, which is a key Democratic priority this Congress. The Restoring the Public Trust Act helps us do the critical work of rebuilding the public’s faith in government.”

When he and the same group of cosponsors originally introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Lieu said:

“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 18 Democratic cosponsors in the current session of Congress. Last Congress, it had 34 Democratic cosponsors in the House and didn't receive a committee vote.


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.

    Yep! Always! So how did the Idiot get security clearance? I AM TOTALLY CONCERNED THAT DJT, HIMSELF, IS GIVING AWAY OUR SECRETS. ESPECIALLY WHEN HE MEETS WITH DICTATORS ALL ALONE! THAT MAN IS LIKE A KID WITH SECRETS - ALMOST PEEING HIS PANTS IN HIS EAGERNESS TO TELL! GOD HELP US! WE NEED TO STOP ALL NEPOTISM NO MATTER WHO’S INVOLVED. BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN IT INVOLVES EXTREME POWER AND KNOWLEDGE LIKE THE PRESIDENCY!
    Like (68)
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    Share
    The secret service does a fine job. This is more Trump hate agenda.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    I think if we look at all the issues that have come up over the last two plus years it behooves Congress to know constantly who has what security clearances at all times in order to determine whether or not our country may be in danger when people with certain clearances are arrested or subjects of an investigation. This administration has shown some people should not have had the clearances they held.
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Protecting the information security of the country is one of the most important primary responsibilities of government. It’s why we have the security clearance system in the first place. Frankly, why is there a interim or system AT ALL?! It’s not something to play “sort of okay” games with.
    Like (31)
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    Yes, including especially this President.
    Like (23)
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    Absolutely! Should have been done months ago, and would have been done had the Dems controlled Congress!
    Like (22)
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    The President shouldn’t have the authority to overrule a decision on somebody’s security clearance EVER.
    Like (19)
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    Every other department of the government does
    Like (18)
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    The criminal family in the White House makes this legislation a necessity.
    Like (18)
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    Look, I held a TS SCI for years. If I even had a bad credit report it would get yanked. Why do the current occupants in the WH get a pass.
    Like (16)
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    It is not needed. Just more obstruction by poor losers democrats.
    Like (14)
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    This looks like an important check on executive power and could prevent people who are unqualified from indefinitely having access to secrets they should never know.
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    Yes it should report to Congress because it seems like Donald Trump is completely out of control.
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    Congress should indeed be kept apprised of the status of employees with security clearances. They have oversight responsibilities and need to keep this White House under strict scrutiny, particularly given their propensity to flaunt the advice of their own intelligence community.
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    Any White House employee who does not have the appropriately screened security clearances needs to be investigated. We cannot trust people with conflicted interests or shady affiliations to know what's happening at the top level of our government. Accountability and transparency.
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    It’s is troublesome that a person that have serious financial problems will get a security clearance in the White House. Jared Kushner was denied a security clearance by security experts and was overruled by Trump over the objections of the security experts. This kind of breach of security clearance in the White House should be investigated. I urge you to support this initiative.
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    Congress clearly must provide oversight on clearance process since trump has abused power and ordered clearance granted to persons with serious national security threat issues! Congress must be involved. Stop the abuses. Protect our national security.
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    This is Trump era when trump can override his national security advisers and appoint those like his daughter and his son in law. I can’t even get over the fact we have a reality tv guy deciding who is worthy of clearances. We screwed up big time in 2016. Our president has much more power than one might think, especially with a senate that’s either afraid to oppose or in complete agreement with this psychopath liar in chief.
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    We’re talking about National Security here! It seems like the largest threat to Natural Security is the ENTIRE TRUMP EXTENDED FAMILY!!!
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    The information about who in the White House has access to classified information should be readily available. The President should not be giving security clearances to anyone he feels like without any oversight especially people like Kushner who could not pass the background check to receive it.
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