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Coalition Letter Urges Biden Administration to Comply With Congressional Reporting Requirements

On February 10, 2022, the Brennan Center joined 41 organizations in demanding that President Biden and the Department of Defense comply fully with their reporting requirements under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

Published: February 10, 2022

The National Defense Author­iz­a­tion Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 sets forth the milit­ary’s prior­it­ies and oblig­a­tions for the year. It also requires the Depart­ment of Defense to prepare a wide array of reports for Congress, to enable congres­sional over­sight of milit­ary oper­a­tions and conduct. Pres­id­ent Biden signed the NDAA into law in late Decem­ber 2021. In doing so, Pres­id­ent Biden issued a state­ment indic­at­ing that the Depart­ment of Defense would not provide all of the inform­a­tion reques­ted by the NDAA. Declar­ing that certain NDAA report­ing require­ments would lead to the disclos­ure of “highly sens­it­ive clas­si­fied inform­a­tion,” Pres­id­ent Biden invoked a supposed consti­tu­tional respons­ib­il­ity to with­hold national secur­ity inform­a­tion from Congress.

The Bren­nan Center, Demand Progress, the Project On Govern­ment Over­sight, and 39 other organ­iz­a­tions oppose Pres­id­ent Biden’s decision to with­hold inform­a­tion from Congress. Congress has the consti­tu­tional right to request national secur­ity inform­a­tion, consist­ent with its consti­tu­tional powers to declare war and to fund, main­tain, and regu­late the milit­ary. Further­more, Congress’s plen­ary power over appro­pri­ations allows Congress to condi­tion the milit­ary’s use of appro­pri­ated funds on the provi­sion of relev­ant reports. To the extent that Pres­id­ent Biden’s sign­ing state­ment dismisses Congress’s consti­tu­tional role in over­see­ing and regu­lat­ing the milit­ary, it engages in exec­ut­ive over­reach and imper­ils the separ­a­tion of powers. Pres­id­ent Biden should rescind his sign­ing state­ment and comply fully with the report­ing require­ments in the NDAA.

Coali­tion Letter Urges Biden Admin­is­tra­tion to Comply With Congres­sional Report­ing Require­ments by The Bren­nan Center for Justice on Scribd