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 MattisNew Defense chief: Our 'priorities remain unchanged' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Trump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions MORE.

In a letter spearheaded by Reps. Joe CourtneyJoseph (Joe) D. CourtneyOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One Trump shares renderings of red, white and blue Air Force One Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland MORE (D-Conn.) and Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherKeep our elections free and fair Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill 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 ThornberryUS officials express optimism negotiations with Iran possible GOP rep: 'This story is not over' if Iran continues 'aggressive' and 'provocative' behavior Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One MORE (R-Texas) and ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval GOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall Texas Republican: Migrant conditions in his state the 'worst' he's seen MORE (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. 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LieuDemocrats call for restraint, oversight as Trump reportedly calls back Iranian strike Report: Iranian officials say Trump warned them attack was imminent Trump approved Iranian strike before pulling back: report MORE (D-Calif.), Paul CookPaul Joseph CookNative American groups press Congress to rescind Wounded Knee medals House lawmakers look to reassure Australia after Mattis resignation New partnerships in South America could lead to additional action on Hezbollah MORE (R-Calif.), Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Where 2020 Democrats stand in betting markets ahead of first debate Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval MORE (D-Mass.), Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneRoy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama Alabama secretary of state announces Senate bid The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE (R-Ala.), Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaPolitical world mourns death of Doris Day Lawmakers pressed to fix tax law glitch Dems set to debate Trump impeachment in post-Mueller era MORE (D-Calif.), John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusOvernight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress California official blasts EPA head over car standard negotiations Democrats grill Trump officials over fuel standard rollback MORE (R-Ill.), Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoBipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Hispanic Caucus seeks to retain voice in House leadership MORE (D-Ariz.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? MORE (R-Pa.) Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDemocrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote The Go-Go's rock the stage at annual 'We Write the Songs' DC concert MORE Jr. (D-Ga.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinStacey Abrams urges lawmakers to restore Voting Rights Act Democrats seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Md.) and Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossWHIP LIST: The 78 House Democrats backing an impeachment inquiry Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements New Jersey Dems tell Pentagon not to use military funds for border wall 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.