House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy released the following statement on today’s House vote on a waiver for Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Secretary of Defense in the Biden Administration:
“Today I believe, as I did four years ago, that our nation faces critical threats that require the President’s national security team to be assembled quickly. That is why I voted in support of General Lloyd Austin’s waiver to be considered as the Secretary of Defense under the new administration.
“General Austin will be only the third individual in the history of our government to be considered for a waiver that breaks from the long-standing tradition of maintaining civilian control of our military. There are important reasons we have a law requiring civilian leadership of the military. It ensures we have diversity of thought within our Department of Defense, and protects the chain of command critical to the military’s mission.
“Some have said ‘civilian leadership of the military has been a cornerstone of our democracy since the Founders, and for good reason…The American people are entitled to regular order and thoughtful scrutiny of nominees and any potential waivers.’ These were Speaker Pelosi’s words just four years ago when it was a Republican president’s nominee for Secretary of Defense who needed a waiver.
“Now that the nominee has been named by someone in their own party, House Democrats have no issue skipping regular order, rushing through a waiver, and depriving the American people of the thorough process the Speaker herself once said they deserved. House Democrats also overwhelmingly opposed the waiver for President Trump’s Secretary of Defense nominee. And yet today they argued that a waiver is now okay given we have a Democrat in the White House. We should call it for what it is: a blatant, partisan flip flop.
“Especially given the lack of regular order in the House, General Austin must use his confirmation process to provide the American public with a concrete strategy on how he plans to ensure our troops are prepared to confront ongoing and future threats, maintain our competitive edge over China, and most importantly, how he plans to keep the American people and our homeland safe.”