On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee voted in favor of a waiver that would allow General James Mattis to bypass federal law which bans those who have been out of uniformed military service for less than seven years to be Secretary of Defense. General Mattis, who is the nominee to lead the Pentagon, has only been retired since 2013. The Senate Armed Services Committee as well as the full Senate voted in favor of issuing a waiver to the retired four-star general before the House Armed Services Committee did the same with a 34-28 vote. A full House vote is expected to take place Friday.
His hearing in front of the House Armed Services Committee was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but was canceled by the Trump transition team on Wednesday. Many Democrat House Committee members expressed their disappointment in the Trump team refusing to let General Mattis testify and many pointed to that being for the reason they denied voting in favor of the waiver.
On Thursday, General James Mattis testified at the confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Following the hearing, the members voted in favor of the waver with a 24-3 vote.
All Republican Senate members voted in favor while three Democrat members opposed. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, all voted against the retired four-star general receiving a waiver.
During the hearing, General Mattis answered questions pertaining to a slew of defense topics including Russia, terrorism, China, as well as women and gays in the military.