I previously criticized the additional firings of Inspectors General by President Donald Trump and applauded Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for his pledge to get answers on the basis for the terminations. On Thursday, Grassley used one of the few tools in his position to force oversight: he held up two Trump nominees until he receives answers to these important inquiries. It is the fulfillment of the constitutional role of the Congress to exercise oversight authority and the action against a president of his own party inures to the great credit of Grassley.
Grassley tweeted: “Im placing holds on 2 Trump Admin noms until I get reasons 4firing 2 agency watchdogs as required by law Not 1st time ive raised alarm when admins flout IG protection law Obama did same& got same earfull from me All I want is a reason 4 firing these ppl CHECKS&BALANCES.”
Now he is holding up the confirmations of Christopher C. Miller to be the director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Marshall Billingslea to be the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Both positions are related to terminated Inspectors General.
This is an important fight for Congress to win. The Inspector General system is a critical bulwark against corruption and abuse in the Executive Branch. The terminations are highly concerning for that reason but the failure to respond to a congressional inquiry is even more so. This is a fight worthy of the Senate.