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 Nielsen2,000 asylum seekers return home, decide to stay in Mexico: report Trump taps FEMA official to lead agency Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE will testify before a congressional committee early next month.

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersKremlin seeks more control over internet in Russia Former GOP House Intel chair: McConnell eating 'manure sandwich' with Trump's national emergency Lawmakers quiz officials on 2020 election security measures 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 ThompsonLawmakers quiz officials on 2020 election security measures Hillicon Valley: House panel takes on election security | DOJ watchdog eyes employee texts | Senate Dems urge regulators to block T-Mobile, Sprint deal | 'Romance scams' cost victims 3M in 2018 Hillicon Valley: Dems pounce on Trump fight with intel leaders | FBI taps new counterintelligence chief | T-Mobile, Sprint tap former FCC Dem commish to sell merger | Dem bill would crack down on robocalls | Family sues over Uber self-driving fatality 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.