Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will testify before a House panel March 6, Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson announced Monday, following days of back-and-forth between the Trump Cabinet member and House Democrats.
Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, had been publicly criticizing Nielsen since last week when she declined an invitation to appear voluntarily this week. Nielsen cited scheduling conflicts and offered to appear at a later date, including the week of Presidents Day when Congress is expected to be on recess. Before the new date’s release, Thompson had said he wanted Nielsen to testify before the end of February and he had threatened to subpoena for her appearance.
In his announcement, Thompson said they were giving Nielsen “ample time to prepare.”
“She should be ready to defend the Administration’s border security actions and its plans to improve its border security agenda going forward,” Thompson said. “As Chairman of the Committee, I remain committed to the charge that securing the country should be based on intelligence and facts, and not pursuant to a campaign agenda.”
The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, Mike Rogers, suggested in a statement that Thompson and Nielsen had come to an agreement.
“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 DHS,” said Rogers of Alabama. “I look forward to hearing from Secretary Nielsen about the administration’s plans for border security early next month.”