The House Oversight and Reform Committee issued its first subpoenas under new Democratic leadership to officials facing a grilling over the Trump administration’s child separation policy.
Under Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee by a vote of 25-11 Tuesday agreed to issue subpoenas to Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II.
The Dems were joined by two Republican votes: Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich).
The subpoenas require the agencies to produce specific categories of information about each separated child — the same information requested seven months ago on a bipartisan basis.
“These subpoenas will be the first issued by the committee in the 116th Congress. I did not make this decision lightly. As many of you know, I have been passionate about this issue since it first became public last year, and I believe it is a true national emergency,” Cummings said. “When our own government rips vulnerable children, toddlers, and even infants from the arms of their mothers and fathers with no plan to reunite them, that is government-sponsored child abuse. It is our job to step in and protect those children. Further delay is not an option.”
The agencies sent last-minute letters over the past several days with limited sets of documents, but they were either non-responsive, redacted, or included only aggregated information, Cummings’ office said.