Hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees have recently kicked off. Politicians are grandstanding, but Trump’s first test, his nominee for attorney general Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., passed by consensus with flying colors.
Other Trump nominees whose confirmation hearings are underway are Gen. John Kelly (ret.) for secretary of Homeland Security, Dr. Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Ks., for director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Arguably the most notable, however is Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis (ret.) for secretary of Defense. If confirmed, Mattis would be the first general since George Marshall was picked by President Harry Truman to lead the Pentagon.
Mattis needed a waiver from both the Senate and House Armed Services Committees before, as he has been retired for less than seven years. The Hill gives the details:
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis on Thursday cruised through his confirmation hearing despite senators’ attempts to draw him out in areas where he might disagree with President-elect Donald Trump.
The Senate Armed Services Committee afterward easily passed a waiver exempting Mattis from a law that requires Defense secretaries to be retired from military service for at least seven years.
The vote was 24-3, with Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), a Marine veteran, voting in the opposition.
Politico picks up on what happened on the House side:
The Senate voted 81 to 17 to pass the waiver less than three hours after the special legislation was forwarded by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The waiver appears on track to clear both chambers before week’s end — so it’s ready for President-elect Donald Trump’s signature soon after he’s sworn into office next Friday.
But the Senate’s action contrasted sharply with Thursday’s session in the House Armed Services Committee, where the waiver carried by a vote of 34 to 28. Democrats largely abandoned the legislation after a planned hearing with Mattis was nixed by Trump’s transition team and top Democrat Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state urged lawmakers to vote down the measure.
Source: The Hill