Nielsen to testify before House Homeland Security panel next month

Nielsen to testify before House Homeland Security panel next month
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS MORE will testify before a congressional committee early next month.

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersThe Hill's Campaign Report: Red-state governors races pose test for Trump Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race Overnight Defense: House approves Turkey sanctions in rebuke of Trump | Trump attacks on Army officer testifying spark backlash | Dems want answers from Esper over Ukraine aid MORE (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that Nielsen will appear before the committee on March 6.

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The announcement comes after the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonSenators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS Hillicon Valley: TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties | FCC formally approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill | AT&T in M settlement with FTC Cyber officials tout reforms with one year to Election Day MORE (D-Miss.), was highly critical of Nielsen for not agreeing to testify before the committee earlier and floated the idea of issuing a subpoena for her appearance. 

“The administration’s plans about the future of border security are vitally important and the American public deserves to hear about these plans from Secretary Nielsen herself,” Rogers said in a statement Monday.

“Chairman Thompson’s decision to cooperate with Secretary Nielsen to find a time for her to testify was the right one and is consistent with the committee’s constitutional mandate to conduct oversight over [the Department of Homeland Security],” he continued.

Thompson later confirmed the secretary's appearance in a statement to The Hill, saying that the committee is "giving the secretary ample time to prepare for this appearance."

"She should be ready to defend the Administration’s border security actions and its plans to improve its border security agenda going forward," he said.

Thompson told reporters last week that he was open to issuing a subpoena for Nielsen if she didn’t reach a deal to appear before his committee by the end of February.

He had initially requested that the secretary testify on Feb. 6, as lawmakers negotiate a funding package that includes border security measures.

Thompson has pointed to Nielsen's testimony as playing an important role in those negotiations, saying that Congress needs to hear from the Homeland Security chief about the situation at the border.

Trump had initially refused to sign any funding deal that didn't include $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall on the southern border. But he signed a bill last month to temporarily reopen the government, giving lawmakers a three weeklong window to negotiate on border security.

Updated at 12:33 p.m.