Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday announced the GOP members of the House Benghazi committee, but Democrats said they still haven’t made a decision on how much they’ll cooperate with the investigation as they search for assurances it won’t be a politically charged probe.
Rep. Steve Israel, New York Democrat, said Democrats have offered some options to Mr. Boehner, but he declined to detail them.
“Until the gavel is banged and the first meeting is held, there’s room for us to discuss how to make sure this is fair, balanced and bipartisan and not a witch hunt,” he told reporters.
The House voted Thursday to establish the select investigative committee, though just seven Democrats joined with the GOP in backing the move. Democratic leaders said the investigation was likely to be tinged by partisanship and said it was unnecessary, given the other probes that have already taken place both within the administration and on Capitol Hill.
But with the committee now a reality, Democrats are grappling with whether to take part.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had initially asked for equal representation from Democrats and Republicans on the committee, but the GOP rejected that, creating a panel that will include seven Republicans and five Democrats.
The GOP members Mr. Boehner announced Friday include Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who will be the chairman, and Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
“I expect this committee to carry out an investigation worthy of the American lives lost in Benghazi,” Mr. Beohner said in a statement. “I also urge my Democratic colleagues to treat this tragedy with the proper respect and appoint members so that we can finally, on a bipartisan basis, get answers.”
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters Friday that there must be “standards” for Democrats who would sit on the committee with respect to concurrence on issuing subpoenas, decisions on deposing and interviewing witnesses, and decisions to release any report, document, or information by the committee or by committee staff.
Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said Friday that it’s up to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to determine if Democrats will participate.
“I think it’s unfortunate that House Republicans continue to pursue this in a highly partisan manner, in fact they themselves have acknowledge how political this is, how oriented it is to raise money and motivate its base for a midterm election,” he said on MSNBC.