The proposed continuing resolution released Tuesday evening contains a provision intended to accelerate the confirmation process for James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, forcing Democrats who have expressed concerns about the recently retired general’s nomination to choose between an easy road for Trump’s nominee and a possible government shutdown. Specifically, the proposed CR provides a “limited exception” to Senate confirmation procedures. Current law stipulates that a military member must be retired from Active Duty for seven years before serving in the role of Defense Secretary. Mattis is a former Marine Corp general who retired in 2013, and his confirmation would require the approval of a waiver in the Senate. The CR provision would limit Senate debate on Mattis’ confirmation to no more than 10 hours, require a vote directly after the completion of debate, and require confirmation by a three-fifths vote instead of a simple majority. Trump announced his decision to nominate Mattis on Dec. 2.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.