WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement prior to Secretary-designate, retired General Lloyd Austin’s participation in an informal roundtable with a bipartisan group of members to discuss the importance of civilian control of the military.
“I am very glad that Secretary-designate Austin has agreed to sit down with members of the committee today to further explain his commitment to civilian control of the military. While we hoped to hold an open hearing with the Secretary-designate and he had agreed to do so, procedural issues have prevented a hearing. The House has not yet finalized the roster of members who will serve on our committee in the 117th Congress. As a result, we were unfortunately unable to complete the required procedural work that must precede any formal committee business in this new Congress.
“While today’s roundtable will be an informal event, it is still enormously important. The Secretary-designate chose to speak with members because it is important to him, and the entire Biden-Harris administration, to be transparent and accountable to the American people. Secretary-designate Austin understands that some members had reservations about his nomination given the need for a waiver, and his willingness to have an open dialogue with Congress is a testament to the kind of leader he is and will be once his historic confirmation is complete.
“This afternoon the House will vote on the waiver necessary to complete the Secretary-designate’s confirmation process. Once the House has acted, I am optimistic that the Senate will act swiftly to complete Secretary-designate Austin’s confirmation and provide the Pentagon with the strong, stable leadership required for these tumultuous times.”