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House lawmakers look to reassure Australia after Mattis resignation

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is reaching out to Australia to reassure the U.S. ally following the announced resignation of Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPresident Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Nearly 300 more former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report MORE.

In a letter spearheaded by Reps. Joe CourtneyJoseph (Joe) D. CourtneyConnecticut Republican drops out of congressional race on primary day after arrest Navy recommends reinstating Crozier as captain of USS Theodore Roosevelt: report Overnight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with outbreak | Trump to expand use of defense law to build ventilators | Hospital ships receiving few patients MORE (D-Conn.) and Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherFederal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats Government watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE (R-Wis.) and sent by Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey, members of the Congressional Friends of Australia Caucus stressed the importance of the alliance between the countries after Mattis said he would leave the Trump administration.

“We therefore share many Australians' concerns about Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis's recent announcement that he will step down from his position in February 2019,” they wrote in Friday's letter obtained by The Hill. “Secretary Mattis has been a stalwart proponent of American leadership and a free and open Indo-Pacific, both which have benefitted the United States and Australia for decades. He has also been an advocate for maintaining and strengthening America's alliances and partnerships around the world, including with Australia.”

Mattis's departure date has since been moved up to Jan. 1.

The congressional group cited Mattis’s resignation letter, which stated the United States, while an “indispensable nation in the free world,” can’t protect its interests without alliances with countries with common goals and values.

“[W]e are writing to strongly reaffirm our agreement with Secretary Mattis that it is in the United States’ ­enduring interest to maintain and strengthen our alliances, built of shared values and shared interests, particularly in the case of our specia­l relationship with Australia,” the lawmakers wrote. “Moving forward, we want to extend our deep and sincere commitment to maintain America's special bond and alliance with your country.”

In addition to Courtney and Gallagher, the letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryGovernors urge negotiators to include top priorities in final defense policy bill Overnight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Chamber of Commerce endorses former White House physician Ronny Jackson for Congress MORE (R-Texas) and ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithGovernors urge negotiators to include top priorities in final defense policy bill Bottom line A long overdue discussion on Pentagon spending MORE (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House Republican fears grow over rising Democratic tide Bottom line MORE (R-Okla.), John Larson John Barry LarsonAnxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid AARP endorses Democrats' measure to overturn Trump payroll tax deferral GAO clears way for Democrats to try to overturn Trump's payroll tax deferral MORE (D-Conn.), Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Treasury withheld nearly M from FDNY 9/11 health program Trump holds private funeral service for brother Robert Trump at White House  MORE (R-N.Y.), Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterGreen neighborhoods for better jobs, a cleaner environment, and a sustainable future Congress needs to finalize space weather bill as solar storms pose heightened threat OVERNIGHT ENERGY: 20 states sue over Trump rule limiting states from blocking pipeline projects | House Democrats add 'forever chemicals' provisions to defense bill after spiking big amendment | Lawmakers seek extension for tribes to spend stimulus money MORE (D-Colo.), Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupTrump, Biden battle over rush for COVID-19 vaccine The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally One doctor's thoughts on a hopeful future MORE (R-Ohio), Ted LieuTed W. LieuPelosi suggests Trump setting 'dangerous' example with quick return to White House The spin on Woodward's tapes reveals the hypocrisy of Democrats Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' MORE (D-Calif.), Paul CookPaul Joseph CookLawmakers seek extension for tribes to spend stimulus money following Treasury delays The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel MORE (R-Calif.), Seth MoultonSeth MoultonTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Overnight Defense: Congress recommends nuclear arms treaty be extended | Dems warn Turkey | Military's eighth COVID death identified Bipartisan congressional task force recommends extending nuclear treaty with Russia MORE (D-Mass.), Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneLawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown Bottom line Jerry Carl wins GOP Alabama runoff to replace Rep. Bradley Byrne MORE (R-Ala.), Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaAmericans want to serve — it's up to us to give them the chance On The Money: McConnell previews GOP coronavirus bill | Senate panel advances Trump Fed nominee who recently supported gold standard | Economists warn about scaled-back unemployment benefits Bipartisan bill introduced to provide tax credit to food and beverage distributors MORE (D-Calif.), John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusAsbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Women rise on K Street — slowly Bottom line MORE (R-Ill.), Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoMark Kelly releases Spanish ad featuring Rep. Gallego Legal marijuana backers tout potential money for states Leadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation MORE (D-Ariz.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickLawmakers urge IRS to get stimulus payments to domestic violence survivors Hopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum MORE (R-Pa.) Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs Lawmakers, public bid farewell to John Lewis MORE Jr. (D-Ga.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates MORE (D-Md.) and Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossPocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair When 'Buy American' and common sense collide NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.). 

Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday after the White House announced it planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — a move Mattis strongly opposed.