Senate Armed Services Committee approves Mattis
WASHINGTON — Confirmation of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary could occur this week following a vote in favor of his nomination Wednesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The committee, led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., voted 26-1 to send Mattis’ nomination to the full Senate, which has the final say on approving cabinet appointments. It could hold a final confirmation vote Friday immediately after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office and officially nominates the general.
“I think it is really a testimony to the man because so many members of the committee had known him when he was [commander of U.S.] Central Command and they know of his reputation,” McCain said after the vote. “You know he’s a very unique individual.”
Mattis, 66, has wide support in the Senate – the only ‘no’ vote Wednesday was from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – and he is expected to be easily confirmed, which could make him the first career military officer in nearly 70 years who has required a special waiver from Congress to take the Pentagon’s top civilian job.
Congress approved the waiver last week because Mattis has not been retired at least seven years as required by law. Gillibrand opposed bending the rule, saying putting a recently retired general in charge could erode civilian control of the military.
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