Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis will find himself in the spotlight when he goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing on Thursday.
Mattis has been making the rounds with senators this week, in advance of the hearing. The reception has been positive, with Republicans singing his praises, and Democrats also giving him positive reviews.
However, there's one key hurdle facing Mattis before the Senate votes to confirm him. Mattis needs a waiver to exempt him from current law which requires a general to be out of the military for at least seven years before serving as Pentagon chief. Mattis has only been out for three.
The waiver will have to be passed by both chambers, and will need 60 votes in the Senate. Some, particularly Democrats and veterans, have expressed concerns publicly and privately over making sure the waiver does not harm the principle of civilian rule over the military and the Pentagon.
Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot MORE (D-N.Y.), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, has already said she would oppose the waiver. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a Marine veteran, has also said he will oppose it.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a wounded combat veteran, has expressed concerns over the waiver. One Republican veteran in Congress privately expressed concerns over it to The Hill earlier this week, cautioning that great care has to be taken with the issue to avoid eroding the principle of civilian rule.
Prior to Mattis's confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee will also hold a hearing on civilian control of the military with testimony from outside experts at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Hart 216. http://bit.ly/2iZ6e1R
In addition to Mattis, Congress has a full slate of confirmation hearings next week.
Of interest to foreign policy watchers will be Rex Tillerson for secretary of State. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is slated to hold Tillerson's confirmation hearing Wednesday, though the committee has not yet announced a time or place. http://bit.ly/1dKW5dv
The Senate Intelligence Committee will have a confirmation hearing for Rep. Mike Pompeo to be CIA director at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Hart 216. http://bit.ly/2hZ880x
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for retired Gen. John Kelly to be secretary of Homeland Security at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Dirksen 342. http://bit.ly/2jaHfMr
Think tanks are also holding transition-related events, with only two week until President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE's inauguration.
The U.S. Institute of Peace is holding its daylong event on "Passing the Baton 2017: America's Role in the World" on Tuesday. Outgoing Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Illegal pot farms dry up Western creeks Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington Biden confirms 30 percent global methane reduction goal, urges 'highest possible ambitions' MORE, incoming National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn and Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonProgressive foreign policy should not be pro-autocracy Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Ark.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (R-S.C.) are among the speakers. http://bit.ly/2iMGZjL
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