The White House on Wednesday chided House appropriators for threatening to deny State Department funding in order to force cooperation with the congressional investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
A directive contained in the House Appropriations Committee’s state and foreign operations bill for fiscal 2016 to “withhold 15 percent of Diplomatic and Consular Programs base funding pending certain [Freedom of Information Act] related and record-keeping actions is counter-productive as it would affect funding for this activity and also could adversely affect global diplomatic operations unrelated to the intent of the provision,” Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanYang: 'Defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City' New York mayoral candidates go viral for vastly underestimating housing costs Five things to watch in the New York City mayoral race MORE said in a letter to the leaders of the spending panel.
The bill, which passed unanimously out of subcommittee, is the latest effort by the House GOP to force the Obama administration to hand over documents that could be potentially relevant to the deadly siege and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE’s role before, during and after the assault.
Speaking at an event in Tennessee last weekend, House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) defended using funding as leverage.
He told the National Federation of Pachyderm Clubs that the 12-member panel “tried public shame, it didn’t work. We’ve tried threats and subpoenas and letters, that hasn’t worked.”
“What has worked was when we partnered with our friends on appropriations and let the State Department and other agencies know, your money will be cut if you do not provide us with documents,” Gowdy said to applause.
The full House Appropriations Committee is set to take up the spending bill on Thursday.