20.6 C
Houston
Friday, February 26, 2021

Republicans Stand Down on Biden’s Pentagon Pick Lloyd Austin

A number of Senate Republicans on Thursday voted to approve a waiver to allow President Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, to serve in the position.

The Senate voted 69-27 to pass the waiver to the law stipulating that a defense secretary must be more than seven years from serving in the military to hold that position, in order to preserve the principle of civilian control over the military. Austin retired from the military in 2016.

Of the 27 that opposed the waiver, only 13 were Republicans. They included Sens. John Barrasso (WY), Marsha Blackburn (TN); Susan Collins (ME); Tom Cotton (AR); Josh Hawley (MO); Mike Lee (UT); Cynthia Lummis (WY); Sen. Roger Marshall (KS); Marco Rubio (FL); Ben Sasse (NE); Rick Scott (FL); Pat Toomey (PA); and Todd Young (IN).

Surprisingly, more Democrats opposed the waiver. They included Sens. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Richard Blumenthal (CT); Cory Booker (NJ); Catherine Cortez Masto (NV); Tammy Duckworth (IL); Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); Edward Markey (MA); Jeff Merkley (OR); Patty Murray (WA); Jacky Rosen (NV); Jon Tester (MT); Chris Van Hollen (MD); Elizabeth Warren (MA); and Ron Wyden (OR).

- Advertisement -

Many who opposed the waiver have said they have done so on the principle of preserving civilian control of the military versus in opposition to Austin.

Still, the support from the majority of Republicans in the Senate was notable — signalling a lack of appetite so far to push back against Biden.

Republicans also did not push back on Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.

Only 10 Senate Republicans opposed her. They were Sens. Blackburn; Mike Braun (IN); Ted Cruz (TX); Joni Ernst (IA); Bill Hagerty (TN);  Hawley; Lee; Marshall; Rand Paul (KY); and James Risch (ID).

There was more opposition from Republicans in the House to a waiver for Austin. Sixty-three Republicans voted against the waiver. Many of the Republicans who voted against it are members of the Republican Study Committee, the House Republicans’ conservative caucus.

The Republican Study Committee, led by Navy reservist and China hawk Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). said in a statement last week:

General Lloyd Austin has not been out of uniform for the requisite seven years and thus requires a waiver from the U.S. House of Representatives to serve as secretary of defense. Based on the lessons learned after the House made the unprecedented move of granting a waiver four years ago, the Republican Study Committee will oppose granting General Austin a waiver.

The RSC laid out their reasoning in a lengthy memo distributed to members last week.

The caucus also opposes Austin’s nomination, citing lack of experience in great power competition against Russia and China and in civilian policy debates. They said in the memo:

General Lloyd Austin is not the man for the job General Austin has served his country admirably in combat and as a military officer. However, a cursory look at his record makes clear that the case for issuing a ‘waiver’ for Austin is not warranted. Lack of experience in great power competition and in civilian policy debates. Austin’s experience as the former head of CENTCOM was mostly focused in the Middle East and on the anti-ISIS fight while the main threats we face today come from great power competition from China and Russia.

Unlike General Mattis who regularly commented on defense and foreign policy issues as a Hoover Institution fellow after leaving the Pentagon in both speeches and public writings, General Austin has rarely if ever commented on the defense or foreign policy debates of the day, making it difficult to understand where he stands on important issues. Austin has mostly spent his post-Pentagon tenure running a consulting business, Austin Strategies LLC, and serving on a number of corporate boards including Nucor, a steel company that is a subcontractor to at least two major defense contractors and United Technologies Corporation, which includes a defense segment as well as business interests in the elevator and air conditioning industries.

The caucus also cited Austin’s tenure as commanding general of U.S. Forces in Iraq from 2010-2011, during the time of former President Barack Obama’s withdrawal, and as head of Central Command from 2013-2016, during the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“At CENTCOM, Austin was accused of intentionally downplaying intelligence regarding the rise of ISIS,” it said. The RSC also cited his performance on Syria.

“In Syria, General Austin was criticized for his reluctance to support military options earlier on in the Civil War, which if undertaken could have led to a better outcome,” it said.

Since both Houses of Congress have passed a waiver for Austin to serve, the Senate will next vote on Austin’s confirmation to serve as defense secretary. The Senate Press Gallery tweeted that the vote would be at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

 

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.



Breitbart

Latest news

Luongo: The Greening Of The Grid Froze Texas

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,Polar winds scream out of Canada in seeming revenge for Joe Biden canceling the Keystone...

‘Spygate’ Stefan Halper’s disputed claims about Michael Flynn a focus of declassified documents

Declassified FBI documents shed further light on “Spygate” figure Stefan Halper’s efforts during...

Mitch McConnell says he will ‘absolutely’ back Trump if former president is 2024 GOP nominee

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if former President Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party's presidential nominee again in 2024, he...

Japanese 10Y Blows Out Above YCC Barrier, But In The US Yields Are Already Sliding

Earlier we noted that despite an aggressive attempt by Australia's central bank to enforce its recently launched yield curve control, including a $3BN POMO...

Related news

Biden Orders U.S. Military Strikes Against Infrastructure Used by Iranian-Backed Militias in Syria

President Joe Biden ordered his first military airstrikes on Thursday, targeting “multiple facilities” used by by Iranian-backed militia groups in eastern Syria, according to...

DHS Officials Warn of Migration Crisis: ‘Prepare for Border Surges Now’

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials are warning of an illegal immigration crisis at the United States-Mexico border as President Joe Biden continues unraveling...

7 Radical Demands in the Equality Act

House Democrats have passed the radical Equality Act once again, claiming it will merely amend federal civil rights law to ensure sexual orientation and...

Texas Governor Considers Lifting Statewide COVID Restrictions

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters he is considering lifting the statewide coronavirus mask mandate. The governor said he is also considering stopping other...

Biden’s HHS Nominee Does Not Rule Out Taxpayer-Funded Healthcare for Illegal Aliens

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, dodged a question on whether...

Gretchen Whitmer Administration Refuses to Answer Questions About Nursing Home Policy

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) administration refused to answer questions from legislators Thursday about her coronavirus nursing home policy. During a House Oversight Committee meeting,...

Democrat Impeachment Lead Jamie Raskin Violates Coronavirus Restrictions, Appears on House Floor without Mask

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) did not wear a mask Thursday afternoon on the House of Representatives violating the House rules set by Speaker Nancy...

Stocks and Bonds Hammered in Sharp Selloff

Stocks took a beating on Thursday as investors sold off tech shares and Treasurys. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 560 points, a 1.75...