House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, citing “evasion” from the White House, introduced the resolution Tuesday night, a day after appointing Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to head the panel, which will be made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats.
Boehner said the panel will have special investigatory tools and will have the singular purpose “of getting the unvarnished truth about what took place leading up to, during, and following the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya,” adding, “The American people will accept no less.”
Democrats have not committed to appointing any panel members. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that she wants the select committee to be evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, but the GOP has flatly rejected that idea, noting to reporters that during Pelosi's tenure as House speaker she created a select committee comprised of nine Democrats and six Republicans.
Republicans believe the White House has stonewalled GOP investigators in the House. Republicans have sought emails and other communications and documents related to how the Obama administration responded to the Benghazi attack, which it continued to blame on a protest over an anti-Muslim video despite evidence that terrorists were responsible.
Many in the GOP have been calling for the select committee but Boehner has resisted. Aides said he changed his mind when a lawsuit forced the Obama administration to hand over an email in which Obama advisor Ben Rhodes coached then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to go on the Sunday television talk shows and blame the attack on the anti-Muslim video.
While many Democrats are likely to oppose the Benghazi resolution, it is expected to easily pass because Republicans hold a solid majority.
Here is Boehner’s full statement:
“This committee’s structure, scope, and capabilities represent a responsible approach, reflecting the seriousness of what happened in Benghazi as well as the Obama administration’s unacceptable lack of cooperation in the time since. Our system of government is built on an assumption of transparency. It is unfortunate that it has to come to this, but when four Americans are killed by terrorists in a well-coordinated assault, the American people will not tolerate the evasion we have seen from the White House. In response to the administration’s pattern of obstructing oversight efforts, this Select Committee will be provided special investigatory tools not available to every standing committee of the House. And given the administration’s history of slow-walking information, Chairman Gowdy and this panel will be provided as much time as needed to bring forth answers, accountability, and justice. I expect the members of this committee — Republican and Democrat — to exercise these authorities with a single-minded focus of getting the unvarnished truth about what took place leading up to, during, and following the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya. The American people will accept no less.”