Grace Meng introduces the Benghazi bill Hillary Clinton asked for
Rep. Grace Meng announced in a press release this morning that she's co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill "to prevent another Benghazi," referring to the attack in Libya that killed four American diplomatic personnel last September.
That Meng, a quiet freshman and a Democrat, would take up Benghazi as an issue is something of a surprise, since the attack has become a conservative shorthand for the security failures and alleged media manipulations of the Obama administration, and the ostensible reason for Republicans to deny or delay some of the president's cabinet appointments.
But Meng's bill claims to be inspired by Hillary Clinton's fiery defense of the State Department during a heated hearing on Benghazi back in January.
After the attacks, Clinton appointed an independent panel to review the actions of the State Department, but the panel was unable to recommend disciplinary actions against its employees, because the law requires a breach of duty. In her testimony at the hearing, which happened to be Meng's first on the foreign affairs committee, Clinton proposed a legislative remedy that would lower that bar, and allow such review panels to lower the threshold for recommending disciplinary action.
"Under federal statute and regulations, unsatisfactory leadership is not grounds for finding a breach of duty,” Clinton testified in response to questions about why the employees who had failed to respond to requests for more security had not been fired, and were instead placed on paid administrative leave.
Meng's bill, which is co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry, would allow future accountability review boards more leeway, in keeping with Clinton's suggestions.
“If passed, this legislation will be a huge boost towards better protecting U.S. citizens serving abroad, and it will help ensure that this type of attack never occurs again," Meng said, in the press release. "Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked for this bill when she testified before Congress in January. Now it’s time for us to pass it.”
Meng, who thanked Clinton for being a "role model" during the Benghazi hearing in the House, has not spoken to Clinton directly about the legsilation since then, according to her spokesman.