Democrats have made it clear that while they think General Mattis has served our country honorably, there should be a careful examination on whether or not to grant him special permission to serve as Secretary of Defense even though he hasn’t been out of uniform for the required seven years.
Republicans, on the other hand, appear to be trying to bypass any long debate on the issue. They’ve attached a provision to a must pass budget continuing resolution that would grant Mattis the waiver he needs to serve as Secretary of Defense. This move has caused some concern among Democrats who believe this will cause the waiver to be granted without the proper examination by Congress.
Nancy Pelosi, for instance, issued the following statement about the issue:
“Civilian leadership of the military has been a cornerstone of our democracy since the Founders, and for good reason. In the whole history of the Department of Defense, the only Defense Secretary ever given a waiver was then-Secretary of State, General George Marshall – who was provided an individual waiver in a stand-alone bill approved by the Congress.
“The American people are entitled to regular order and thoughtful scrutiny of nominees and any potential waivers.
“Brushing aside the law that enshrines civilian control of the military – without discussion, in a massive must-pass funding bill – would set a terrible precedent. It is troubling that Republicans are working so hard to shield President-elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense from the scrutiny and debate of Congress and the American people.”