Pallone, Rush Urge Trump to Reappoint Secretary of Energy to the NSC Principals Committee
WASHINGTON — Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) sent a letter to President Trump today urging him to reconsider his decision to remove the Secretary of Energy from the Principals Committee of the National Security Council (NSC). A January 28th Presidential Memorandum made a number of significant changes to the makeup of the NSC’s Principals Committee, including appointing President Trump’s chief political advisor, Steve Bannon, to the Principals Committee, while removing key national security leaders including the Secretary of Energy and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Since this significant interagency advisory panel is often host to the final deliberation and review before critical policy issues affecting national security are presented to the President, we find it incomprehensible that our country's top energy security advisor has been removed from the panel,” Pallone and Rush wrote. “We also find it troubling that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations and the Director of National Intelligence have been removed, yet at the same time, a political advisor with no real national security experience or responsibility has been given a seat at the table.
“Energy security is one of our nation's top tier national security concerns. A successful cyberattack on our electricity grid could have a massive nationwide impact on consumers, businesses, and critical infrastructure, while putting American lives at risk. Losing power across a broad swath of the country for days on end would cripple our society’s ability to communicate, move freely and seek basic needs such as food, water and health care,” Pallone and Rush continued in their letter.
Under U.S. law the Secretary of Energy is a standing member of the NSC. While the law does not mandate that the secretary serve on the Principals Committee, during the Obama Administration the Secretary of Energy served as a full member of the NSC Principals Committee, along with a number of other Cabinet officials.
The Secretary of Energy is responsible for the safe keeping of our nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal in addition to the security of our nation’s energy grid and infrastructure. The Energy and Commerce Committee is responsible for oversight of the Department of Energy.
A copy of the letter is available below.