Republicans Stand Down On Biden’s Pentagon Pick

(RoyalPatriot)- The U.S. Senate voted 69-27 on Thursday to grant a waiver to retired Army General Lloyd Austin, allowing him to serve as Secretary of Defense before the typical waiting period.

Law says that it must be at least seven years since a person served in the military before he or she can hold the position of defense secretary. The rule is in place to preserve the principle of civilian control over the military.

Austin, though, retired from military duty just a few years ago, in 2016. To serve as President Joe Biden’s defense secretary, then, he needed to receive a waiver from Congress.

There was a total of 27 Senators who opposed the waiver, with 13 of them being Republicans. Those opposing Republicans included Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), John Barrasso (Wyoming), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Susan Collins (Maine), Mike Lee (Utah), Josh Hawley (Missouri), Marco Rubio (Florida), Roger Marshall (Kansas), Todd Young (Indiana), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Rick Scott (Florida) and Ben Sasse (Nebraska).

More Democrats actually opposed the waiver than Republicans in the Senate, with 14 opposing the move.

Many of the senators who opposed the waiver said it was important to preserve the principle of civilian control over the military. Not many Republicans pushed back against Biden’s nominee, though.

The same was actually true of Avril Haines, who is now the director of national intelligence. Only 10 Republicans in the Senate opposed her confirmation. They were Blackburn, Joni Ernst (Iowa), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Braun (Indiana), Hawley, Bill Hagerty (Tennessee), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Lee, James Risch (Idaho) and Marshall.

In the House, 63 Republicans opposed the waiver for Austin, many of whom are members of the House’s conservative caucus, the Republican Study Committee. Indiana Representative Jim Banks, who chairs that committee and is a Navy reservist, said in a statement:

“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 committee further opposed Austin’s nomination in general, saying he lacked experience in dealing with power competition with countries such as China and Russia. They also said he didn’t have any experience in civilian policy debates.

In a memo they sent to members last week, the committee wrote:

“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.”