By TRICHA SAINTIL / Contributing Writer
On Wednesday U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy proposed a bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that would essentially remove Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council.
Bannon, a former Navy surface warfare officer who has worked in investment banking, as a Hollywood producer and most recently as CEO of Breitbart News, and now a senior White House adviser, appointed by Trump to a permanent seat on the council – which advise the president on matters of national security and foreign policy – while at the same time demoting the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff so that they only attend meetings related to topics limited to their specific roles.
The appointment is as controversial as Bannon himself. Federal law mandates that members of the council must be composed of only Cabinet members and other department heads that are appointed with the “advice and consent of the Senate.” Since no legislative body has confirmed Bannon, his appointment to the Council is illegal, according to Title 50 of the U.S. Code, Section 3021.
Murphy’s proposed legislation will have two provisions: the first is to ensure that no individual whose “primary responsibility is political in nature” is assigned to the council or authorized to attend NSC meetings; and, to express the view of Congress that the Director of National Intelligence or the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff should have a standing invitation to attend Principal Committee meetings.
Murphy’s legislation would also make it tough for Bannon to retain his position on the NSC. The bill argues to prevent any White House employee whose “primary or predominant responsibility is political in nature” from being designated as a committee member or regularly attending its meetings.
“The security of the American people should be more important than partisan politics,” Murphy said as she introduced the bill.
“As a former national security specialist at the Department of Defense and a current member of the House Armed Services Committee, I can tell you the last place partisan politics belongs is in national security,” she said. “It is reasonable and commonplace for presidents to decide who attends security meetings, but I strongly believe the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have a standing invitation to attend all Principals Committee meetings given their importance to national security and expertise.”
“My bill will help depoliticize national security so that we never jeopardize the safety and security of the American people.”
Murphy is a representative of Florida’s District 7, which covers all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida.