Elizabeth Warren will not vote for waiver for Biden’s Defense nominee

She has 'great respect' for Lloyd Austin, but Warren also opposed a waiver for Gen. James Mattis' Defense Secretary eligibility.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she plans to vote against the congressional waiver necessary to confirm Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as the next defense secretary. 

Warren says she has “great respect” for Austin, but she opposed a waiver for General James Mattis‘ Defense Department secretary eligibility, and she will oppose this waiver as well. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (left) does not plan to vote for a waiver allowing retired U.S. Army General Lloyd Austin (right), Joe Biden’s defense secretary nominee, to serve in the position. (Photos by DNCC via Getty Images and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Back in early 2017, regarding Mattis’ confirmation after being selected by then-President-elect Donald Trump, Warren said, “Americans have always been skeptical of concentrated government power, and concentrated military power is at the top of the list. Civilian control of the military is so essential to the effective functioning of any democracy that we often take it for granted — but we shouldn’t. As elected civilian leaders, we have a responsibility not to chip away at this principle without a very compelling reason.”

In speaking to reporters Tuesday, Warren said that Austin’s career has been “exemplary.” She said she looks forward to meeting him and talking to him more. But her stance was firm. 

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Federal law prohibits former military officials from serving as defense secretary within seven years of finishing active duty. Austin has only been retired for four years. 

The original separation period established in 1947 was originally 10 years; it was shortened to seven in 2008. 

As reported by Boston.com, Warren notes that the rule was created to “ensure that such leaders would have time to transition from the perspective of a soldier to the perspective of a civilian, to reduce their attachment to one particular service branch, and to make clear that the military itself comes second to its civilian leaders.”

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The waiver has raised concerns among other Democrats, as well as Republicans. 

President-elect Joe Biden addressed the issue in an essay titled, “Why I Chose Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense,” published in The Atlantic Tuesday. 

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“Given the immense and urgent threats and challenges our nation faces, he should be confirmed swiftly,” Biden wrote. 

“The fact is,” he continued, “Austin’s many strengths and his intimate knowledge of the Department of Defense and our government are uniquely matched to the challenges and crises we face. He is the person we need in this moment.”

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