Oversight Committee Advances Kiggans’ Bill to Address Lapse in National Security Due to Austin’s Absence

Feb 06, 2024
Armed Forces

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Oversight Committee passed Congresswoman Jen Kiggans’ (VA-02) Securing the Chain of Command Continuity Act by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 41-0. Kiggans introduced the bipartisan legislation with Congressman Don Davis (NC-01) on January 11, 2024, following reports that essential members of the U.S. government, including the President, were left in the dark over Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s recent absence due to health challenges.

At a time when our nation is facing countless global threats, this bipartisan legislation ensures a continuous chain of command among members of the National Security Council (NSC) to preserve America’s nation defense superiority. The legislation now awaits to be scheduled for a vote on the House Floor.

“We live in an increasingly dangerous world,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “To ensure America remains capable of combating threats wherever and whenever they occur, we not only need an unparalleled military force, but also a strong military leadership that cannot be compromised. I was pleased to see the House Oversight Committee recognize that need today by unanimously passing the Securing the Chain of Command Continuity Act. I look forward to seeing this critical legislation on the House floor for a vote as soon as possible in order to protect the integrity of our national security.”

“The House Oversight Committee’s favorable report of the Securing Chain of Command Continuity Act is a vital step forward to protecting our national security,” said Congressman Don Davis. “Requiring a 24-hour notice for the incapacitation of the National Security Council leaders is a minimum expectation. Congress must pass this to help safeguard the American people.”

Specifically, this legislation would amend the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to require all members of the NSC to provide notification to the Executive Office of the President, the Comptroller General of the United States, and to each chamber of Congress within 24 hours of any planned or emergency medical incapacitation. In the event this notification does not occur, the respective agency would be required to submit a comprehensive report providing transparency surrounding the incapacitation and related notification failure to the above entities within three days.

You can find the bill text here.


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