Mattis ‘Grateful’, House Republicans Introduce Waiver Language

GOP Tries to Hasten Confirmation

mattis-trumpPresident-elect Trump’s pick for the Secretary of Defense, Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis said Tuesday that he was “grateful” to be nominated for the post. He joined Trump on stage briefly at the president-elect’s “Thank You” rally in Fayetteville, N.C.

A must-pass spending bill was introduced by House GOPs, with the use of language that aims at expediting the confirmation of James Mattis to lead the Department of Defense.

While addressing the rally in North Carolina, Mattis remarked:-

I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to our troops, their families, the civilians at the Department of Defense. I know how committed they are and devoted they are to the defense of our country [and] the defense of our Constitution. And with our allies strengthened and with our country strengthened, I look forward to being the civilian leader, so long as Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.

Trump overtook as Mattis left the microphone and said:-

You’re going to get that waiver. If you don’t get that waiver, there are going to be a lot of angry people.

The federal law requires the Secretary of Defense to be off active duty for at least seven years. Since Mattis retired from the military in 2013 (a period shorter than seven years), a waiver has to be approved by the Congress to allow Mattis to head the Pentagon.

Just before Trump took the stage to address the rally, the House Republicans introduced the proposal to speed up the waiver in legislation to keep the government funded until next spring.

The bill is aimed at preventing the government from shutting down this weekend and buying a couple of months for the incoming Trump administration and new Congress to wrap up unfinished agency budget bills of worth more than $1 trillion.

The bill also includes language that would force the Senate Democrats to think whether they would oppose the spending bill over the confirmation of Mattis, which would risk a government shutdown over the matter.

The legislation would require Mattis to receive 60 Senate votes to receive the waiver. However, the debate on the measure would be limited to 10 hours.

The current number of Republicans in the Senate is 52. It means that 8 Senate Democrats would have to join these 52 members for Mattis to receive the waiver.

Trump was less blustering in his address to the rally on Tuesday as compared to a similar rally last week in Cincinnati. Here is a part of his speech:-

We will defend American jobs. We have to look at it almost like a war. We want the next generation of innovation and production to happen right here in America. We will heal our divisions and unify our country. When Americans are unified there is nothing we cannot do – nothing! I’m asking you to dream big again as Americans. I’m asking you to believe in yourselves.

The president-elect had a healing tone which aimed at mitigating the divide. The president-elect even stopped the crowd when it started to boo the media.