BREAKING: The House has approved a waiver for President Joe Biden 's pick to lead the Pentagon, moving Lloyd Austin a step closer to confirmation. The measure waives a rule that prohibits recently retired military officers from serving as defense secretary.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House easily passed legislation required to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as President Joe Biden’s secretary of defense, brushing aside concerns that his retirement occurred inside the seven-year window that safeguards civilian leadership of the military.
Thursday’s 326-78 vote would grant a waiver that would exempt Austin from the seven-year rule. All signs point to quick action in the Senate after that, putting Austin on track to be confirmed as secretary by week’s end.Austin, a 41-year veteran of the Army, has promised to surround himself with qualified civilians and include them in policy decisions. He said he has spent nearly his entire life committed to the principle of civilian control over the military.
ADVERTISEMENTWhile the waiver is expected to be approved, the vote puts some Democrats in a position to look like they’ve flip-flopped. Many of them opposed a similar waiver in 2017 for Jim Mattis, former President Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense. headtopics.com
Austin, who would be the first Black secretary of defense, said he understands why some have questioned the wisdom of putting a recently retired general in charge of the Defense Department. Much of his focus this week, including in his remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, has been on persuading members of Congress that although he has been out of uniform for less than five years, he sees himself as a civilian, not a general.
Some aspects of his policy priorities are less clear. He emphasized on Tuesday that he will follow Biden’s lead in giving renewed attention to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.“I will quickly review the department’s contributions to coronavirus relief efforts, ensuring we are doing everything we can — and then some — to help distribute vaccines across the country and to vaccinate our troops and preserve readiness,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Under questioning by senators, Austin pledged to address white supremacy and violent extremism in the ranks of the military — problems that received relatively little public attention from his immediate predecessor, Mark Esper. Austin promised to “rid our ranks of racists,” and said he takes the problem personally.
“The Defense Department’s job is to keep America safe from our enemies,” he said. “But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”Austin said he will insist that the leaders of every military service know that extremist behavior in their ranks is unacceptable. headtopics.com
ADVERTISEMENT“This is not something we can be passive on,” he said. “This is something I think we have to be active on, and we have to lean into it and make sure that we’re doing the right things to create the right climate.”He offered glimpses of other policy priorities, indicating that he embraces the view among many in Congress that China is the “pacing challenge,” or the leading national security problem for the U.S.
The Middle East was the main focus for Austin during much of his 41-year Army career, particularly when he reached senior officer ranks. He served several tours of duty as a commander in Iraq, including as the top commander in 2010-11.An aspect of the defense secretary’s job that is unfamiliar to most who take the job is the far-flung and complex network of nuclear forces that are central to U.S. defense strategy. As a career Army officer, Austin had little reason to learn the intricacies of nuclear policy, since the Army has no nuclear weapons. He told his confirmation hearing that he would bone up on this topic before committing to any change in the nuclear policies set by the Trump administration, including its pursuit of nuclear modernization.
Austin, a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served in 2012 as the first Black vice chief of staff of the Army. A year later he assumed command of Central Command, where he fashioned and began implementing a strategy for rolling back the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
He describes himself as the son of a postal worker and a homemaker from Thomasville, Georgia, who will speak his mind to Congress and to Biden. Read more: The Associated Press »
Where things stand in the Jan. 6 investigation, according to the the FBI director
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray on the security failures surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Follow here for the latest.
This old crook is going to cause a lot of trouble for south Asia, oldy biden and brown vp aren't peace lover House voted overwhelmingly to pass on the waiver; Senate shortly afterward turned a 69-27 vote in to JoeBiden . Austin is now positioned to be confirmed as Secretary by Friday. Austin has stated he is committed to civilian control of military.
TXFartingsworth Didn't he work for Raytheon (a military contractor)? I think that's the bigger issue, not the 7-year bar. Imagine if trump did this? Libs would be crying saying he’s trying to win the black vote over Just what we need more deadbeats running the country I think that’s all the Democratic Party is deadbeats
The military state begins Another Obama nominee. 🙄 Joe can’t pick anyone for any job that Obama hasn’t previously picked? Maybe this is how he process of proving the need for changing a rule goes. Follow the rule or change the rule. It’s not like it won’t be heavily vetted and go through due diligence.
This man is coming directly from the Raytheon board of directors. What policies do you think a military contractor will espouse? 🇺🇸👍🏻 What happens to Mike Flynn’s brother who refused help at the Capitol on 1/6? Raytheon. Of course. CORRUPTION We're screwed The Senate has also passed the waiver for Biden Pentagon pick Lloyd Austin, clearing his path to confirmation.
SethAbramson I'm happy this waiver was granted but I do hope it does not become the norm and undermining the intent of the rule. New wars anybody? jimmy_dore colleen_benn Excellent news! _Politics Make a rule. Break a rule. Why even have the rule then? More than happy the DoD boss is a Black man; *hopefully* Caucasian notions of professional style will change at the Pentagon. That said, this law was created for a reason. Bush made CP SecState for a reason. CP could have easily led the Pentagon too.
Gen. (Ret.) is an honorable man but we should have learned our lesson in the prior waivers issued in last four years. I don't care who picked the guy, I'm not in favor of bending these kinds of sensible rules. deray Progress! Good! GOD DAMN IT. There is a reason for that rule. Stop hiring exmilitary to civilian positions.
He's perfect for the job! Keep moving ahead, Congress! So whats the point of the rule if we just wave it for not only this, but the last approved Secretary of Defense? Get to work on them 2000$ checks promised in the first week Who voted against the waiver? There are others that are qualified, there’s a reason that rule exists.
he's done for! And before all the MAGA people start bitching, a waiver was required for Mattis under Trump. Why have the rule if we’re just gonna hand out waivers.? (.) (.)