Wednesday March 30th 2011 Appointments for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton *updated*
2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers a classified briefing to Members of the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill.
4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood host a ceremony celebrating the negotiation of agreements between the United States and 100 Open Skies partners, in the Ben Franklin Room at the Department of State.
5:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers a classified briefing to Members of the Senate, on Capitol Hill.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen are coming to the Hill Wednesday — and according to top lawmakers, they better be prepared to answer tough questions on Libya President Barack Obama didn’t answer in his Monday night speech.
The three administration officials are slated to give a classified briefing to senators at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and both Republican and Democratic leaders told their rank-and-file members in their weekly lunches Tuesday not to be afraid to press the Obama surrogates for answers on what some fear might be a larger commitment than initially indicated.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even told his colleagues that if they felt like the information they received in the briefing was unsatisfactory, they could explore legislative options to challenge the White House.
“I told my caucus to come loaded with all your questions, ask questions in this classified setting and then if you want to do more legislatively, you’re entitled to do that,” Reid said Tuesday afternoon. “The war powers act, we believe is valid and very clear, setting forth a time line, and I read it to my caucus today.”
Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the meeting with Clinton, Gates and Mullen “an opportunity for us to follow up further on what’s happening in the last 24 hours,” adding that the president’s remarks in a speech to the nation Monday “were a step in the right direction.”
But in line with many members of his caucus who have expressed reservations about the U.S. mission in Libya, McConnell also said Obama “didn’t answer every question,” but that Republicans would “continue to post those questions to Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton” in the classified briefing.
When asked which questions he’d like to see answered, McConnell was suggested that even the most basic questions about American engagement in the North African country have yet to be answered.
“What is the ultimate outcome? What’s the desired outcome?,” McConnell asked reporters. “If our policy isn’t regime change, what is our policy?”
Clinton, Gates and Mullen are likely to face tough questions from senators who span the ideological spectrum.