ICYMI: Call your House rep and ask them to support H.R. 804, Florida rep Stephanie Murphy’s bill to revoke Steve Bannon’s access to the National Security Council (NSC).
The NSC is a forum where high-ranking officials debate, argue over, and generally kick around exceptionally sensitive national security issues, such as whether and when and how to go to war.
Political strategists like Bannon don’t normally sit in on NSC meetings, and when they do, it’s generally understood that they are to hug the wall and stay quiet. Trump just restructured the NSC to allow Bannon to attend regularly.
Washington Post humorist Gene Weingarten is all too correct when he describes Bannon as someone who “spent his career creating divisions.” He is precisely the wrong person to admit to meetings of the NSC. Precisely. The. Wrong. Person. His involvement with the shambolic executive order that created the Muslim ban is Exhibit A on why he should never take a seat in council meetings.
Murphy, who represents Florida’s seventh district, introduced H.R. 804 on February 1. If passed, it would withhold NSC meeting access from anyone whose “primary responsibility is political in nature.” Scroll down to see a Florida paper’s story on the bill as well as Murphy’s press release.
On a related note about what Congress can and cannot do–you might have heard that Bannon might need Senate confirmation to gain access to the NSC. That does not appear to be true. Scroll down to a link to a Lawfareblog post that explains why. (Short answer: The White House found a loophole.)
In addition to calling in support of Murphy’s bill, you can call your Senators to complain about Bannon and ask them to help remove him. Hearing complaints from constituents about Bannon does help your members of Congress. They will know that we think Bannon is a problem, and they may be able to come up with ways to address the matter, just as they are drawing legislation to nullify the executive order that created the Muslim Ban.
For example, Republican Senator John McCain has already voiced concerns about Bannon’s new role on the NSC, calling it a “radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” (Scroll down for the CNN story that quotes McCain.) Constituents and citizens who call and say they share his concerns should reinforce his opinion.
Other anti-Bannon actions are springing up. Graduates of Bannon’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, have asked the president to remove him entirely. (Scroll down to see the Washington Post story on this.)
Is your senator on the Committee for Homeland Security? Then it’s extra-important that you speak up. Please check the link below before calling. If these senators do not represent you, please target them first when sending postcards about this issue.
Sample script: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I’m calling to ask Representative (Lastname) to support House rep Stephanie Murphy’s new bill that would revoke Steve Bannon’s access to the National Security Council. Political strategists should not have routine access to the sensitive information discussed in NSC meetings, and Bannon, in particular, should not because of his support for white supremacy and his appetite for fomenting chaos and strife.”
Here is the link to H.R. 804 on Congress’s web site (thanks to Greg Cooksey for the headsup):
Here is the newspaper story on Murphy’s bill and also her office’s press release on it:
Here is the Lawfareblog piece that explains why Bannon does not need Senate confirmation to gain admittance to NSC meetings:
Below are a few articles about Bannon, and about the NSC, and about why Bannon should not be on the NSC:
Here is the CNN piece that quotes John McCain, followed by an NPR piece with a longer version of the McCain quote:
More people who know what they’re talking about comment on Bannon’s new role on the NSC: