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Courtney Statement on General Lloyd Austin’s Upcoming Appearance Before the House Armed Services Committee

January 20, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that Secretary-Designate General Lloyd Austin (U.S. Army, Ret.) will appear before the Armed Services Committee on Thursday to discuss his nomination to serve as the next Secretary of Defense under President Joseph R. Biden. On Friday, Chairman Smith introduced legislation to provide a statutory exception to allow Gen. Austin to lead the DOD before he completes the seven-year waiting period required for retired general officers.

“After four years of brazen disregard for Congress’s Article One Section Eight authority over the military by the Trump Administration, the Secretary-Designate’s agreement to engage with our committee later this week and take questions to justify a legislative waiver of the seven-year waiting period for members of the military is a breath of fresh air. I also appreciate the way in which the Biden transition team has been fully responsive to me and my colleagues since day one, in contrast to my experience under the Trump Administration. I had a thorough call with Kathleen Hicks, the incoming deputy secretary of defense, this week about her and Mr. Austin’s view on Congress’s role in national defense and challenges facing the U.S. Navy, and I am confident that the President-election has assembled a balanced and effective national security team.

“Four years ago, the Trump transition team refused to allow James Mattis to appear at the House committee under the same circumstances, and it went downhill from that point on. Given the urgent need to stand up the new Administration’s national security team, I applaud the Chairman’s insistence that the House be fully consulted in the waiver and Mr. Austin’s willingness to engage with the House before being asked to modify the law.”