What: All Issues : War & Peace : Intelligence Agencies' Oversight : (H.R. 5136) On an amendment to legislation authorizing funds for the Defense Department that allowed the Government Accountability Office (which carries out audits and investigations on behalf of Congress) to carry out audits of the Intelligence community in order to aid investigations undertaken by the House Intelligence Committee. (2010 house Roll Call 315)
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(H.R. 5136) On an amendment to legislation authorizing funds for the Defense Department that allowed the Government Accountability Office (which carries out audits and investigations on behalf of Congress) to carry out audits of the Intelligence community in order to aid investigations undertaken by the House Intelligence Committee.
house Roll Call 315     May 27, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to legislation authorizing funds for the Defense Department that allowed the Government Accountability Office (which carries out audits and investigations on behalf of Congress) to carry out audits of the Intelligence community in order to aid investigations undertaken by the House Intelligence Committee. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) already possesses this authority with respect to other Congressional committees. An exception has long been made for the Intelligence Committee, however, due to the sensitive nature of the issues under its jurisdiction.

Eshoo urged support for her amendment: “The reason I offer this amendment is because, unlike all the rest of the committees of the House who can use the GAO, dispatch the Government Accountability Office into the executive branch to make the kinds of determinations on financial issues, financial management, personnel, acquisitions, information technology, whatever it might be, the House Intelligence Committee is not allowed to do that…. I believe this issue goes directly to the heart of one of the most important functions of the Congress, and that is effective oversight. That's what this amendment is about.”

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) argued the amendment was unnecessary: “I think the intelligence committees in the House and the Senate are capable of performing their job. Now, I get frustrated. I don't agree with everything that the majority chooses to do, but I believe that the committee is perfectly capable of oversight of the intelligence community as we were tasked to do in the House rules and by statute.”

The House agreed to the Eshoo amendment by a vote of 218-210. 206 Democrats – including a majority of the most progressive members – and 12 Republicans voted “yea.” 161 Republicans and 49 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment allowing the GAO to carry out audits of the Intelligence community in order to aid investigations undertaken by the House Intelligence Committee.

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