Pelosi: Dems OK with Mattis compromise

Pelosi: Dems OK with Mattis compromise
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that most Democrats won't oppose compromise language in a stopgap spending measure aimed at expediting consideration of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE’s pick for Defense secretary.

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“I don’t think that will be an obstacle — maybe for some,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday.

Before he can be confirmed, former Gen. James Mattis, who retired in 2013, needs Congress to pass a waiver to a law that says Defense secretaries must be out of uniform at least seven years. The law is meant to maintain civilian control of the military.

On Tuesday, Pelosi and other Democrats warned Republicans against including the waiver itself in the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, which must pass by Friday or the government will run out of money.

The CR language unveiled Tuesday night would not grant the waiver, but rather establish an expedited process for considering it. Under the language, the Senate Armed Services Committee would have fives days to take up the waiver after it’s introduced, or else it goes straight to the Senate floor.

Also, debate on the Senate floor would be limited to no more than 10 hours. But the waiver would still need 60 votes to pass the Senate.

Pelosi said House Armed Services ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Trump to send 1,500 troops to Middle East to counter Iran Overnight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info MORE (D-Wash.) and Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) ensured the House’s interests were represented in the final language.

“It’s a compromise that they have a comfort level with,” she said.

She also said that while civilian control of the military is important, Trump’s choice for Pentagon chief could have been worse.

“The overriding principal since the revolution of our country has been the civilian control of the military. Only in recent history was that diverted from … in 1950 when George Marshall was granted a waiver to serve as secretary of Defense even though he had not been out of the military for seven years,” she said. “This is not Gen. Marshall. But compared to some of the other people he could put forth, you have to make a judgment.”