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tv   House Committee Considers Waiver for Defense Secretary Nominee General...  CSPAN  January 12, 2017 2:08pm-4:05pm EST

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may you come to order. today we have, at this portion, three items of official business to consider. adoption of the rules, security procedures, and the appointment of committee staff. before we do that, let me just take a brief moment and welcome returning and new members to the committee. and also express some condolences to those members who are here with us for a day and are being forced to leave us after this.
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the truth is, this is a special committee. most people believe that it's the president or the military's job to decide how big the military aught to be and what weapons they ought to have and so forth. if you look at article 1, section 8, it says it is congresss responsibility to raise and support armies to provide and maintain a navy to make rules for the government and regulation of the land enable forces of the united states. that puts a responsibility on our shoulders and it's a significant responsibility because as we all know men and women volunteer to serve our nation and defend us and put their lives at stake. but they're counting on us. the rest of the story is, for 55 straight years, congresss, with majorities pr bo majorities from both parties, and presidents of beth parties, have found a way to come together and pass a national defense authorization bill.
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55 straight years. now there have been some hiccups alo along the way, it hasn't always been easy. but that bipartisan of coming together for the men and women who serve for our nation is something that weighs on us and our responsibilities. this year we've got to exercise those responsibilities in a world that's growing more dangerous and more complex. we're going to work hard. we're going to have various sessions of various kinds but i'm excited about the depth and breadth of talent this this committee has and i very much look forward to working with each of you and the contributions that each of you will make to our product this year. let me yield to the distinguished ranking member for any comments he makes before we move on to the rules. >> thank one mr. chair. i echo your comments. i think you describe the job of this committee very well.
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it is a great committee i have been privileged to serve on for 20 years, a number of different chairs for both parties. the fact we work together in a bipartisan way to produce a very important product every year makes this committee frankly unique in the house at this point. and i have enjoyed working with you, respect the way you run the committee, and i look forward to an interesting year. we have a lot to do, to be sure. we have a lot of talent on this committee. we also have an incredibly talented staff. that does an enormous amount of work and makes this possible. i thank them as well. and look forward to working with all of you in the year ahead. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. let me call up committee resolution 1 regarding committee rules for the 115th congress. the clerk will report the -- read the resolution. read the resolution. >> committee resolution number
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1. resolved. that the committee on armed services u.s. house of representatives adopt committee rules for the 115th congress which are stated in the copy distributed to each member. >> the proposed committee rules have been developed jointly with the ranking member and made available to members offices earlier this week following consultation of mr. smith having consent for resolution being considered as read and resolution be open to amendment at any point. without objection it is so ordered. let me just say that committee rules aeb the security procedures are largely unchanged from the 114th congress with one notable exception. in rule 4 of the committee rules the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities has been given jurisdiction over the cooperative threat reduction program which was formally under the jurisdiction of the subcommittee on strategic forces. that program, when it began, focused on nuclear
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proliferation. it has shifted its focus to chemical and biological weapons and counterterrorism. that obviously fits better with the subcommittee on emerging threats. thus the rules make that change. otherwise, they are both substantially similar to what we had before. is there any further discussion, questions regarding the committee rules? >> are there any amendments for committee rules? if not, chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. wilson, for the purpose of offering a motion for committee resolution number 1, the committee rules. >> mr. chairman i move to adopt committee resolution number 1, concerning the committee rules. >> question occurs on the motion offered by gentleman from south carolina mr. wilson. those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed, say no. ayes have it. motion is adopt end without objection motion to reconsider
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is laid upon the table. next order of business is committee resolution number 2 regarding security procedures for the 115th congress i call up committee resolution number 2 and ask the clerk to read the resolution. >> committee resolution number 2. resolved that the committee on armed services u.s. house of representatives adopt committee security procedures for 115 blg congress. copy of which has been distributed to each member. >> security procedures were again coordinated with the ranking member and made available it members offices on tuesday january 10th. consent that resolution be considered read and open for amendment in any point without objection as i said this is basically the same we had last year. is there any further discussion of the security procedures. any amendments to security procedures? if not, chair recognizes gentleman from south carolina
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mr. wilson for the purpose of offering a motion. >> mr. chairman i move to adopt committee resolution number 2. the security procedures for the 115th congress. >> question now occurs on the motion of the gentleman from south carolina mr. wilson. all those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> say no? >> without ogting a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. finally i call up committee resolution number 3 appointing committee staff for the 115th congress. the clerk will read the resolution. >> committee resolution number 3. resolved that the persons listed on the sheet distributed to the members and such other personnel as may be required by the committee within the limit and terms authorized under the rules of house of representatives are here by appointed to the staff of the committee on armed services u.s. house representatives for the 115th congress. understood that according to the provisions of law the chairman will fix the basic salary per n
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annum. >> as you know, we are unique in that the staff is integrated. all here to provide council to each you. republican and democratic members alike and i suggest that you take advantage of their talents and expertise. i hate to talk about them because most of them are in the room but as under smith says it is a pretty outstanding group. a copy of the committee staff for the 115th congress was repaired in consultation with the ranking member and made available to member offices on tuesday january 10th. consent to resolution be considered as read without objection. is there any further discussion about the committee staff? if not chair recognizes gentleman from south carolina for purposes of offering a motion. >> mr. chairman i move to adopt committee russ lugs number 3
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regarding committee staffing for 115th congress. >> question now occurs on the motion of the gentleman from south carolina mr. wilson. those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed, say no. ayes have it. quorum being present and without ogting a motion to are consider is laid upon the table. without objection committee staff is making changes to reflect the adoption of the resolution for 1, 2 and 3. and if the ranking member has no further comments at this point, this -- the committee stands adjourned for this business portion. let me switch notebooks.
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committee will come to order. the committee now meets to consider hr 393, granting a one db time exception to section 113-a of title 10 u.s. code. which limits those who can serve as secretary of defense to those who have not served in the military within the past seven years. i have to confess that these are circumstances which i did not expect us to face. when general james mattis was named as president-elect as his nominee for his secretary of defense, i could not have been more pleased. as i said publicly and privately to members of this committee, i believe civilian control of the military is an important principle of our government. and i also believe that this is an extraordinary situation and an extraordinary individual. the combination of which
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warrants a one-time exception to the law. as returning members will remember, we had two committee roundtable discussions in december. one with a briefing by our committee staff to go through the law and the precedent when congress granted an exception to general george c. marshal to serve as secretary of defense in 1950. the other roundtable was with respected outside experts who discussed civilian control of the military and other issues that arise by this exception. my intention, as i made clear, to the committee and to the transition team, in december and since, was to have general mattis come testify before us on his views on civilian control of the military before we vote on the exception resolution. and let me be clear.
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general mattis was willing and eager to do so. i talked to him personally. he gladly agreed to come and answer our questions about the waiver or about other topics that we might have. obviously members know that he has testified before our committee many times in a variety of capacities. on tuesday night of this week, however, i was informed that the president-elect's transition team would not allow general mattis to testify after all. i think that's a mistake. there are major principles of government involved with this exception, which has been requested for the first time in 67 years. i have complete confidence that general mattis would have answered our questions in a way that only increased the confidence and wisdom of his selection.
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i think it would have added strength to his position and gotten the partnership between him and our committee off to a good start. and he recognized those advantages immediately. unfortunately, short-sidedness prevailed. nonetheless, we are where we are. the top priorities for this committee have always been the national security of the united states and support for the men and women who serve her. with that as our guide, i believe we should approve the exception today that allows general mattis to serve as secretary of defense. so that there is no gap in that important office, and so that the nation can benefit, once again, from the service of this extraordinary leader, thinker, and public servant. i yield to the ranking member for any comments he with like to make. >> thank one mr. chairman. well, i too am very disappointed
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on where we are at on this for a number of reasons. i do want to say right up front that mr. thornberry, the chairman and i, are on the exact same page. we wanted general mattis before us. i spoke with general mattis on the phone. he was eager to testify, eager to answer our questions and it was, this was listed as a hearing that was twoing to have him testify two days ago. at the last second, president-elect trump decided not to allow him to do that. and i think that is a large mistake and it basically takes this committee completely out of the process. in fact for reasons that i will state in a moment there is no point in us even having the discussion we're about to have. with the bill that is in front of us. and this is something that, you know, we have battles over for a long time. the executive branch usurping the authority of the legislative branch. obviously for the last eight years, republicans usually
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making that charge at a democratic president and here we are at the very start of or even before the start of a republican administration. that's exactly what they are doing. making our committee irrelevant to this process. and civilian control of the military is enormously important. i think would be incredibly important to hear from general mattis for all of the members to hear from him directly on that point. and the fact he is not is going to make me personally oppose this change in the law. i want it mato make that clear,s not waiver. it has been commonly called that. there is no provision in the law for waiver. there is a law passed in 1950 and amended slightly i think in 2008 to go from ten years it seven years, that says that basically if you have not been out of the military for longer than seven years, you cannot serve as secretary of defense. and what that means is, that right now is the law currently
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stands, it is against the law for general mattis to be the secretary of defense. so in order to fix that, we don't have to give him a waiver, we have to change the law. and when you change a law, if you are doing it right, it goes through committee, through the house and through the senate. and armed services committee is the committee that passed this law in 1950 and amended it in 2008. we should have a say in that. and we don't. and the reason i say that this is irrelevant is because the bill we are supposedly marking up today, house resolution 3 -- sorry, i don't have any glasses on. 83, 93. whatever it is. this bill is going nowhere. this bill is dead. the bill we will hear on the floor tomorrow is the senate bill. so it makes no difference whatsoever whether or not we pass this bill, don't pass this bill.
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this rules committee will meet at about 1:00 in the morning or something to discuss the senate bill. so what we are doing here is literally a waste of our time because this bill doesn't mean anything. we are just going to catch the senate bill on the fly, put it on the floor, have the debate there, and send it out. so what has happened is in a critically critically important matter, who is going to be the secretary of defense and civilian control of the military, the incoming president's team has decided that the house armed services committee is irrelevant. now what i think we should do is say, that's not acceptable. we will not change the law for you until general mattis appears before us. now i take the chairman's point we want the secretary of defense in as soon as conceivably possible. but i get the sneaking suspicious, that there is no reason whatever for general mattis not to testify, he can more than handle himself. he has done it many times
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before. i think they changed their mind that he would be available and we would get that opportunity. by not doing that, by saying, okay, we are irrelevant we agree, we are beabdicating our thoo authority on this committee. i think that's an enormous mistake. the reason we go through the legislative process we go through is to make sure that pieces of lengs lags are as good as they possibly can be. there is actually a couple of problems with the senate bill. and i think the thing we have in front of us is the same thing as senate bill. not that that matters since this bill isn't going anywhere. but the senate bill, the way it is written, is different than the one written for general marshal in 1950 in two ways. one of which i think is really important. the other which is potentially important. the tirs one is this bill does not name general mattis as the one-time exception to this law.
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it is an unnamed person. now i believe it is also written in such a way that they only get one person. so it is not like this means that if four years from now or three years from now president trump want to name somebody else he can do it without respect to this law. but it does mean if for some reason general mattis winds up not being confirmed or secretary of defense that president-elect trump could pick somebody else who violate this law. and we wouldn't have any say in that either. i think we should in this piece of legislation say quite clearly we are changing this law for general mattis and general mattis only. if we don't, we don't know who else might come along and we don't know what their views might be on civilian control for the military. also problematic, in 1950 for general marshal, and this something i didn't know, but if you serve in the military and retire, do your 20 years, i
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believe this just for general officers, you are for the rest of your life as long as you are receiving that pension and you are legally required to receive that pension, you are subject to the uniform code of military justice. and the uniform code of military justice is slightly different than your average criminal law. that means that general mattis, while he is secretary of defense, while he is supposed to be a civilian, is going to be subject to military law. now i realize that that's highly unlikely to happen, with you in theory, president trump could court-martial him if he did something in violation of the ucmj. that's why the separation of the military from the civilian is so important. that's why in 1950 they made sure that general marshal was exempt from the similar requirements. it wasn't the ucmj back then. understand when i understand it, when omar bradley took over the vet van's administration, they did the same thing for him, to
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make sure he was civilian. if we were doing this properly we could offer an amendment and we could change thap prser we wouldn't have to take this and just swallow it. we could change this bill. but this bill isn't going anywhere. the senate bill. will be the bill that controls it. by beabdicating our authority, think we have made a huge mistake opinion the executive branch is going to, you know, have a whole lot of opportunities to figure out how much they want to inform us. and i want to say that i have been consistent, even during the obama administration, i have spoken out when they ignored the authority of this committee. most notably when the exchange for the vote for burg dahl was done, and i spoke out very
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strongly against president obama for ignoring this authority.dah done, and i spoke out very strongly against president obama for ignoring this authority. it does not matter for me which party it is. the only way it change that is to vote tomorrow on the floor to vote down the senate bill and say, no, the armed services committee matters as much as army services in the senate and we sued have our say. and we are not living up to a lot of what was said at the start of the hearing about exerting the authority of this committee as chairman said so eloquently. it's not the president alone who runs the mill tar prip itary. we have is a say in it as well. except today. today we have decided to let it go and not have a say in what is a pretty important issue when it comes to the national security of this country and men and women who serve. i would urge you to reject this
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bill. that we have before us today. except that it would be redundant. this bill has been rejected. rejected by house of republican leadership, rejected by house of republican caucus. this isn't going anywhere. the senate bill tomorrow is what will -- it is dead whether you vote for it or not. i would urge that we reconsider letting the flekt and senate simply roll over us and take away our authority. and thwith that, i yield back. >> i don't want to argue with all the point that mr. smith made. many of the things he said i agree with. i do think because we have a number of new members, a further word of explanation is required and mr. smith will have the chance to respond in any way he sees fit. the house bill that we are marking up today, the senate bill which is supposed to be voted on on the senate floor right now, are exactly the same
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words. those words came about because they were depicted in the continuing resolution that passed last december. the cr that most people in the room voted for, and i've got the exact list of who did, the cr prescribed exactly the words that have to be in this resolution in order to be privileged in the senate. so that's the reason that hr 393, the bill that senate is voting on on the floor, are are exactly the same words and should not be amended. if it is amended it loses its privilege status in the senate. i think we probably will vote on the s bill tomorrow. that's because the senate is ahead of us and are voting on the floor right now. to pass it. and therefore we can take what
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they have already passed tomorrow and have it available for the president-elect to sign on january 20th. i just want to emphasize, i think a lot of the point mr. smith makes about how it should have been written differently are valid. i would have written it differently. but the reason it is before us in the form it is is because that's exactly the language that is law right now in the cr that most people voted for. i had one other point i was going to make, and i forgot what it was. do you have anything else you would like to -- before proceeding further, a couple of aannouncements. it the chair's intention to operate under the five-minute rule to allow all interested
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members to speak in an orderly manner. without objection there are five days within which to submit written stalts for tstatement fe record. so ordered.tement for the record. so ordered. without ogt objectioning with mr. smith and i will wait to record vote for amendments. hr 339 withe bill was made and distributed to member offices on tuesday. without objection we will dispense with the first reading of the bill. is there any further discussion of the bill? jend gentle lady from california for five minutes. >> okay. mr. chairman, thank you for holding the briefing that we did on civilian control of the military before the break. i agree with you it was very informative and insightful. all of the witnesses agreed that
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a hearing with general mat ways necessary to discuss the legislation we are considering today. i want it say to all members here. i greatly appreciate your remarks. you are put into a difficult and unnecessary position. after seven decades and one occasion when congress felt it was important to weigh in protection on civilian control of the military i urge my republican colleagues to take this seriously. without hearing we can't satisfactory insure that general mattis can adapt to the new requirements necessary for a secretary of defense and different from senior military leader. how can we ensure he will provide appropriate council and if necessary resist wishes of the president in the best interest in the defense of our nation and the preservation of peace to the greatest extent possible? i had certainly thought of a number of questions right on this topic that i wanted to ask
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him. furthermore, the nameless language in the bill sets a dangerous precedent. and it opens the gate for subsequent nomination answers confirmation of recently retired service members. this is not the case in 1950. when the waiver clearly or the law clearly applied to general marshal and no one else. the language stipulated that i'll quote no additional appointments or military men to that office shall be approved. unquote. legislation has several other fundamental flaws that the ranching chair has raised. in addition future rights of the house armed services committee in this matter are truly at stake. to accept without making appropriate changes without participating in the process at all, we are doing nothing to save our civilian control of our military and we set the stage for expedited and similar process for the future. so should we rush? so willingly to throw away
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something we have held dear as americans for so long? reading the impassioned transcript of the executive session of this committee in 1950, there was talk of the crisis. the nation had just entered the korean war. a sitting president was asking the congress to act quickly to confirm and grant exception to law for a well-known general of the army who already served as secretary of state. so with that in mind, i have to ask us today, knowing that this is a critical time especially challenging time for all of us, is it though an immediate crisis? are we in the same place we were as a country in 19 550? what troubles me the most is that general mattis had willingly agreed to speak to the committee in the people's house but it is my understanding that presidential traps igs te
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presidential transition team blocked him from testifying today. i don't think the american people think what the transition team thinks and would much rather hear from the nominee himself and why we in the house should grant this exception to law. although we are required to make these laws, we are casting off our duty, agreeing -- irrelevant. mr. chairman as i say to our briefing in december quite clearly we need to speak to general mattis before i will vote to approve this action today and therefore i cannot do that. i yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, i want to basically associate myself with the remarks of mr. smith and ms. davis. but i would like to again just make one point that i think a lot of us who are struggling with this vote today want to make clear which is that none of our criticism of this bill is aimed or intended to really be
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aimed at all at general mattis himself. again, as stated, he has been a frequent flyer at this committee. testified a number of times and i think is just an incredibly impressive individual who, if you watched his appearance at senate armed services mitiy today, again demonstrated the balanced reasonable approach that he takes to a whole variety of issues in terms of use of military force. his, again, torture of any sanction of this policy, but as a fellow new englander once said, we are a kun country of l not of men and women. this is an issue of civilian control and a lot of us guard as
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one of the crown jewels of our nation which is that the control of decisions of war making and military force has to rest within the leadership of this country. article 1 session 8 enshrines that within giving within congress or making powers. very frankly in a context right now where this institution has not really held uppity side of things in terms of asserting that authority. we are now again with about 15,000 troops in harm's way overseas in the middle east operating under authorization of use of force that goes back 15 years ago. the cop gr congress seated that time is no longer here. and the threat in wildest
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imagination could have -- in 2015 obama came forward to step up and engage in terms of its civilian role and unfortunately in the last congress we didn't have hearings late lo let alone a vote in terms of adjusting a proper authorization of force given the threat that our men and women in uniform are facing over there. and it is important to note that our military leadership, whether general done ford, chairman of joint chiefs of staff or general mattis himself testified before congress that they would encourage us to step up and set that policy. that in fact it was good for the people who are at the front lines in terms of making them, giving them confidence to know that the american people were behind them and understood what the challenge that they were contending with in places like
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syria and afghanistan. and the general enforced that earlier today. that in fact he invited civilian control to be asserted than a much more degree than is the case today. there is a very disturbing trend that we had some opportunity today to turn around and to exercise by have meaningingful public hearing process and mark-up which unfortunately is not going to be the case. so again, i think for a lot of us, this is a very awkward and difficult situation because of our high regard for general mattis but the fact of the matter is the principle that's involved, a constitutional principle that really goes to the essential dna and fabric of this country is something that we really just cannot overlook and treat as a mere technicality and for that reason i will oppose this bill. i yield back. >> again, i just want to say i agree with many of the comments the gentleman from connecticut made on the operation use of
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force. it is not within the jurisdiction of this committee however to pass out such an authorization. one other point, and i feel like i'm giving too much after history lesson here. but there is one precedent for this and as you heard in 1950. let me give you the time line of what happened in 1950. on wednesday, september 13, president truman requested that congress change the law so general marshal could serve. that's wednesday. on friday, house armed services committee met in executive session. general marshal was never a witness. met in executive session. passed out the legislation providing the exception. both the house and senate passed at the same day. friday, two days after president truman asked for it, both committees have passed it out and both chambers have passed it. general marshal was not a
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witness at either of them. president truman signed legislation on monday. the next day, tuesday, senate held a confirmation hearing for general marshal where he did show up and did testify. the senate voted on the marshal confirmation and the next day, wednesday, and so by thursday, basically one week after the request was made, he was on the job on september 21st. i take back nothing that i said about he should have, general mattis, should have been allowed to testify. i just want those who are concerned about the executive legislative and precedent to know that the only precedent in this case is that general marshal did not testify before either the house or senate before the waiver was passed and signed into law. only then did he testify at a confirmation hearing. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i just wanted to briefly state my serious concerns with moving forward on this legislation. without the committee having the opportunity to hold a hearing with general mattis. while the senate is tasked with nominations, the house does have the unique responsibility to weigh this on consequential legislation and we are being relieved this today. we have heard for years about how the executive branch has heard the will of the legislature branch and yet when congress has the right to exercise authority we are instead expected to be rubber stamps to an incoming legislation that continues to show know indications that will respect the critical conditions and prerogatives of our body. mr. chairman, i understand that you worked hard to secure an appearance from general mattis. and even received a commitment to appear prior to our consideration of this bill.
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and i do want to go on record saying that i appreciate that. i am disappointed that the new administration ignored the wishes of our committee. i have stated previously that i believe the experience and the critical thinking ability that general mattis brings to the table is very important to an administration that sorely needs that capability. this is not a vote on his nomination. this is a vote based on whether we believe we should waive a 70-year-old law that codified principles by our founding fatheres. furthermore, mr. chairman, it is a vote on whether mattis or whoever we confirm will control civilian control of the military and how that individual will actively support this critical institution. but we have been denied the opportunity to ask questions of general mattis.
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and really dig into the importance of this matter. and because we did not have our rightful opportunity to ask substantive questions of the general, i do not see how i can support this legislation without directly undermining this committee and this house. mr. chairman, i thank you and i yield back. >> mr. berm? >> thank you. the potential of a rules committee meeting at 1:00 tomorrow morning, as a members of the rults committee i thought i could inform this committee that they will start meeting at p:30 this afternoon on another matter that it is anticipated that it will comes to rules committee while rules committee is in the throws of that particular hearing. i think it is important to hear
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from committee of jurisdiction. the committee at this point in time are identical then the vote of this committee is very important to us and i think would very much inform the decision of the rules committee whether or not to make this bill or the senate bill in order and how we would make it an order. so i appreciate the fact that it is being done this way and i don't think it will be done in the dead of night. i intend to vote for this bill in this committee again in the rules committee and again tomorrow afternoon. mr. cheney and i may be the only ones here to vote on this three times. why would i do that? because on january 20th, the men and women in uniform of the united states need a secretary of defense. i don't think that there is that much, if any, opposition to the particular person who is involved here. i hear nothing but the greatest of praise for general mattis from both on both sides of the aisle. i understand the objections that have been stated. this is not the ideal way to do
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this. but i'm thinking first and foremost about the men and women that wear our uniform and for them i intend to vote for this bill three times to make sure they have the right person as their secretary of defense on january 20th. and i yield back. >> mr. langman. >> thank you. and i am extremely dismayed we aren't provide et the opportunity to consider the policy legislating on this matter at hand and i want to associate myself with the comments of mr. smith and my other colleagues on this topic and i understand what a difficult position you are in. like others have said, i want to say that nothing in terms of our concerns expressed about this bill itself reflect on general mattis or his qualifications. that being said, while i
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appreciate general mattis's decade of distinguished service to our nation, i also believe that preservation of civilian control of the military must be one of our highest priorities. and that the house armed services committee should in fact play an integral role in the status of any waiver granted to secretary of defense nominee. our military must defend our society rather than define it. i worry that this waiver approved without hearing may increase the civilian military divide by are seeing today. so mr. chairman, this is no way to do business and our concerns regarding civilian control of our military are not trivial nor was the previously scheduled hearing set to be a divisive event in any way. we are not the senate and we did not seek to confirm general mattis. however, the incoming administration was provide theed an opportunity to begin ilt
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relationship with our members on the right foot by engaging with us through an open hearing in civilian control of the military. in that endeavor, they have certainly failed. by circumventing the process of this committee, i'm less inclined to support this waiver. with general mattis to have appeared before us today it would have allowed history to show that this change to the law was in fact warranted. and in talking about his strategic use and views of civilian expertise within the state department during conflict negotiations, ways in which he plans to combat civilian military divide as recently retired general officer and how he views any politicalization as a general officer serving political institution. so these questions as well as
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those of my colleagues here today are valuable and they are warranted and deserve answers directly from the nominee seeking a waiver from this committee. so mr. chairman, his failure to appear before us today does not reflect favorably on the behavior necessary to preserve civilian control of the military. i find this all deeply troubling. i yield back. >> mr. larson? >> thank you, mr. chairman. one of the sometimes great pleasures and sometimes one of the mostsoteric conversations i have with my sons, i let them know that in this job everyday we struggle with what the constitution means whaen it compels them do. sometimes for them it is a very poring conversation. but it is very true that one of the privileges of this job is that we actually have to try to
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em body what the words of the constitution mean.body what the constitution mean. and a few of those words are down in front of us and the chairman mentioned that as part of the organizational hearing, article 1 section 8, and that is really the civilian controlled military. we have that job to organize the department and it's this issue of the civilian military relationship and control of which we are speaking and it is no small issue that we discuss today because it is one of those struggles about the question one of the questions within the word of the constitution. and so this act of changing the law, i believe, is an act of civilian control and organizing pentagon. and the secretary designated
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with mcmahonis and with the military career and greatest thing about him, he is from the great state of washington. and that is very irrelevant to the question that we face today. to paraphrase the chairman, we are dealing with principles of government for the first time in 67 years. with regards to this question. i wanted to hear his views on control of the military. why is that? because we haven't done this for 67 years. when you do something so rarely, surely you can spend a mere moment of those 67 years to find out what the views are of the person that you are planning to put in a position of secretary of defense. especially one coming out of the military. especially one coming out of the military within that timeframe that existing law sets.
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to hear from that one person who can help us, this committee, create the record to which we can hold that secretary accountable. this oversight is no small issue. this committee oversight is no small issue. we are frankly not starting off on the right foot when it comes to oversight. as a result, mr. careman, i appreciate your willingness to even though it is in the rules, still your willingness to allow us to express our views. i will be voting no and i yield back the remainder of my time. >> ms. sangas. >> thank you very much. i share your disappointment. like many year be i watched general mattis in the senate this morning and i appreciate his knowledgeable and forthcoming testimony.
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the deeply american principle of the civilian control of the military is an organizing tenant of our government. it is by law a commissioned military officer is prohibited from being appointed as secretary of defense without having at least seven years of relief from active duty. this reflectes a fundamental principle of the american republic. the designificants related raising and organizing armed force answers to war and peace itself, should rest in the hands of the representatives of the people, our civilian leadership. this bedrock belief is one i have come to really appreciate as i have served in congress. the unique circumstances of general mattis's nomination, necessitate the law before us today and is the responsibility of the congress, the house included, to determine whether
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or not it is within the national interest to suspend a prohibition whose purpose is to insure that secretary of defense retains no allegiance or preference to any particular military service. that he or she is able to approach decisions on the use of military force. on the basis of overall national interest. and not just military assessments. and that the secretary does not derive his or her power from the will of the people, not the loyalty of members of the armed forces. historically the size of our armed forces has grown and diminished with war and peace. today, however, we live in the era of an all volunteer force comprised of permanent standing military. with this in mind i believe that insuring that our military remains a highly professional nonpartisan institution is vital and demand that we closely skrut
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hemnes anythi skr jut niez anything that could jeopardize that. the korean war effort was faltering as the department itself was struggling to stand up. importantly that waiver authorized general marshal to take the office by name and i continue to have reservations about the lack of specificity in the waiver of request before us today. i will be opposing the legislation under consideration today for several reasons. none of which have to do with the merits of general mattis who esteemed service to this country is not in question. i believe that this committee should have had the opportunity to better understand the general intend to safeguard the value of civilian regard of the military in light of his very recent service. i'm deeply concerned that his time with us was cancelled bit trump transition team, preventing us from exercising our authority and responsibility on behalf of the american people.
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i also have strong reservations from the likelihood of the bill coming from the senate tomorrow. one major short coming is that bill fails to call general mattis by name. i will not support legislation under consideration today. thank you and i yield back. >> mr. guy yego. >> yes, thank you, mr. chair. it has been quite interesting being marine and infantry marine and having to debate this issue. not just with my fellow colleagues but among the many marines who have contacted me through facebook and very colorful language. but it does show -- marines are marines. but it does show that this general has a great following. he is well respect. i respect him. i wish that he would be here. not because i wanted to take
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part in the advice and consent clause that senate should be doing. but to actually talk about historically, what are we actually doing. i fear not general mattis. i fear the general 20 years from now, 30 years from now, when another waiver comes in. whether a general that just barely left military service and 20, 30 years from now much like we were doing, we start looking at the record. we start trying to decide and depfeifer what members of congress were saying and thinking. let's be clear about one thing. when general marshal was given this waiver, there was a lot of debate around this and a debate among mostly men who vast majority of them just finished serving in world war ii. vast respect for general marshal. they had a very intermate understanding of the military.
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and even then those members of congress were saying that this might be a bridge too far. so for us, to sit here and say what we're doing is not necessarily significant, i think is incorrect. we are significant in the time line of history when it comes to setting precedent in this armed services committee and in congress. so you know, i will be voting no. i encourage people to vote no. we need to make sure we are establishing the historical argument and reinforcing the historical argument for civilian control of our military. this is not a vote against general mattis. this is a vote for us, if you vote no for us, to continue to support the idea of civilian control of the military which has been enshrined since the founding of this country. and i think it is important that we have perspective about what we are about to do and you know, had general mattis been here, my questions would have been just
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directly at that. not his qualifications. because i think they are impeachable. you cannot even question that. nor his positions. i think that is a job of the senate. my only scope here is to talk about the historical context of what happens when give a waiver such as this and what it means to overall our democracy and tradition of civilian control of the military. with that i yield back my time. >> related to the gentleman's comments, i want to make sure that everyone knowes this committee will prepare a report based on our action today and all mibs will have the opportunity to have the include and additional views in that report. if one goes back and reads the report from 1950 executive session, it is very interesting. and i don't know that it is
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always put, as you look that debate, i don't know that it always puts them in a light but it is interesting as general points out, history is being made. my point is, everybody will have a chance to contribute to that history. mr. wilson? >> thank one mr. chairman. i support legislation. keeping in mind that i equally support and respect the principle of civilian military relationship. this is from the perspective for me as the very grateful son of a flying tiger who served in china during world war ii. 31-year veteran myself of the army reserve, army national guard, but particularly as grateful dad of four sons in iraq, afghanistan and egypt. based on the extraordinary background of general mattis and his testimony today earlier in the senate, i believe that waiver should be appropriate. my first choice indeed is to support the chairman that we would have had efforts for
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general to appear before the committee today. but i believe it is so crucial that we meant to expedite and general mattis we know will continue the great tradition of civil military relationship. continuity for our nation's missions to protect american families and our allies to promote world peace. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. mckeechen from virginia. welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, thank you for your efforts to get the good general to come to this committee. mr. chairman, i share many of the concerns my colleagues have expressed. all of us were elected to do a job but today, the incoming administration is asking us to be abdicate our responsibilities as citizens. it is a corner stone of our
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democracy. the measure before us requires carefulet that and reasonable debate. we cannot did our jobs, have informed discussion or reach the right conclusion if. general does not appear before the full committee. unlike many of you, i've never had the privilege of meeting the general. i've never had the privilege of looking in his eyes, judging his sincerity, and making sure he understands that the actions that are being asked for us to perform. we need the opportunity to ask these questions, to hear his answers and weigh his views. for years, i have heard about holding the administration accountable. calling for tougher oversight, tougher scrutiny, harder questions. now they have chosen to roll over and giver the incoming administration exactly what they are asking for. no oversight, no scrutiny, no
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hard questions. i've heard many good things about the good general and i wish he were here today to speak with us. since he is not, i have to exercise my best judgment and that is to vote against the resolution. and i yield balance of my time. >> i sat here listening to much of the conversation and respect it. and nothing i've heard so far says the commander this chief won't be president of the out. so the ultimate civilian leadership rests with commander-in-chief and he then hires someone with the advice of the senate to be the secretary of defense. i don't know what is magic about seven years. i've heard nothing that says anyone needs a seven-year detox program to shed themselves of
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the vices and nasty stuff you get by serving in military. we have a general officer sitting in the front row. a colonel in the second row. no one would remotely suggest that they are more loyal to the military than they are loyal to the con stit yenlt they represent back home. why is five years not an appropriate detox program? why is three years not necessary? now clearly no one in here will put a uniformed officer currently in service in that position. not going to do that. as we move along that line of how long they've within out, i've not heard any psychology or scientific evidence to say seven years is something magic. mr. mattis has been out over four years. and so, i'm quite comfortable saying that he is going to be more respectful of the civilian as he approaches that job with as previous service as a military man. and the conversation, debate is high-minded and respectful.
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but this is party line vote. you will send the next secretary of defense into his role to lead every man and woman in uniform with a split vote mean the majority and minority. and that does not send a very good message. i can assure you those young buck sergeantens and e-3 was e-4s out there would be much more pressed if it was a unanimous vote for mr. mattis. and so however you couch your language, i'm voting for mr. mattis to be secretary of defense today. my vote on this bill will be for mr. mattis to be secretary of defense. the process, i got it, you can make those arguments and you've done that very well. i respect that. but for me and my vote is to vote for mr. mattis to be secretary of defense. with that, i yield back. >> mr. peters. >> thank you, i also believe they the had right to maintain
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control over the armed forces. like you i was excited to hear under president-elect trump's choice to nominate general mattis for secretary of defense. he is a man who has the strength to guide our thanation's milita when we have threats at home and around the world. because of this reputation i was likely to support a waiver for general mattis so he could become our next secretary of defense. but president-elect trump refused to make him available for the hearing so we can hear from him directly about why we should provide that waiver. and the action before us doesn't even specify it is general mattis who will get the waiver. and i think we can all agree that with much of what our colleagues have said but the refusal to allow him to testify despite his willingness to do so is a thumb in the nose to the house of representatives to the house armed services committee and to the chairman. we deserve better. chairman thornberry deservesed
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bet per. if can you hear me from down here, i think you have been an exam particularry chairman.per. if can you hear me from down here, i think you have been an exam particularry chairman. it has been an honor to serve with you. i think you deserve the respect of the incoming administration to have general mattis come testify. it looks on the other hand like we will abandon our responsibility to weigh and to limit terms of a waiver and to give president-elect trump assurance he doesn't have to worry. he doesn't have to worry about the house of representatives. our response to him saying he is not going to send someone done here, which seems pet lunt to me, is to say okay, that's fine. and i think that's the wrong way to start off. whether you are republican or democrat. and like i said, if i were to continue on this committee, from what i know, i would be very likely to support the waiver if he with are to come here. but it is wrong for us to be abdicate this responsibility in this manner.
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pursuant to our constitutional matter, we should demand that we be allowed to hear from general mattis and provide our constitutional check on the executive branch. maintaining these checks and balances is how we keep tyranny from walking in the front door. it is our job. we have to do our job under the constitution and we are making excuses for not doing our job today. and the quality of the candidate is not an excuse. and so i think we should hold the administration accountable to bring general mattis before us, allowing him to appear pursuant to wishes and until he does so i would not pursue the waiver. >> thank you for your service to the country. i yield back. >> thank you. >> mrs. spear. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in 1935 general george marshal
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wrote to a colleague, and i quote, the great man is he who makes the minor adjustments without dishonor that permit the great issues or important matters to be carried to proper completion, unquote. this sums up today's hearing and it is not very flattering on the position this committee is poised to take. it shows general marshal who was the last and only nominated secretary of defense to be allowed waiver would not have approved of the committee's actions here today. this legislation needs not so minor adjustments in order to be carried to proper completion and i fear we are all courting dishonor because of the refusal to make these changes. i speak of course of would major problems with hr 393 which we are discussing here today. this waiver would apply only to general mattis otherwise it is a blanket waiver for any nominee
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who meets the conditions and that's not acceptable. it must waive the uniform code of military justice for general mattis specifically. so that he can not be brought before a court-martial for laws that i villains are not subject to. it is critical that the secretary of defense be a civilian. subject solely to the civilian rules of law. as it stands, legislation creates a permanent imbalance between the civilian and military leadership roles in the department of defense. and fly nets faies in the face principle of our democracy which has control of our military and government. as another general and president once warned us, quote we must guard against unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought by the military industrial complex. the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. end quote.
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this is less about general mattis who is and has indicated that he is inclined to come and appear. it is more about nonelected trump transition staff and about a fear i have that the president-elect views the executive branch not as a separate and co-equal branch but as a spur superior branch. we shall not be rolled over by the executive branch in our responsibilities as a separate and equal branch of government. i must join me colleagues in respectfully voting against this waiver. and i yield back. >> mr. russell? >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's been interesting to hear some of the constitutional arguments today, but there is nothing in the constitution that
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speaks to civilian control of the military. that the president has to appoint a secretary of war or as we call it a secretary of defense. you will find nothing in article 1. nothing in article 2. there's no amendment. and in 1947 there was the national defense act that was established. and it did lay out guidelines that needed a waiver with general marshal. we often speak he was the only exception of having a uniformed member in a short time span take over the leadership of the department of defense. that simply is not historically accurate. in fact when you go back in history, when they were called secretaries of war, there were many who served in much shorter time from time between called mister and time they were called general. what are objectors afraid of?
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do they truly want to say something but are not willing to say it? we hear the bland word civilian control of the military as if somehow those american citizens who have born the brunt of service or battle or somehow are no longer entitled to their citizenship and are imprinted with this mark of cane. what are the real objections? dot objectors instead wish they could say, we are afraid of the warrior class? we are afraid that they might cause a war? is that it? historically battle hardened warriors have provided peace more than their nonserving counter parts. they understand human suffering. the loss of order. no public servicees. and death by weep yoons, disease or hopelessness is a reality. s. and death by weep yoons, disease or hopelessness is a reality.s. and death by weep yoons, disease or hopelessness is a reality. it is not academic. they understand understand we need to do anything to prevent such things. the greater rattling often seems
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to occur from politicians that have never born the sword. are objectors afraid to say we will take over the government? i don't know. historically if there was ever an opportunity for that concern was in the 1790s. president george washington, a general, can commanded at the highest level of our nation and was revered. he appointed to secretary of war what we call secretary of defense today, men like henry knox, general. timothy pickering, general. military surgeon. treasury appointment, alexander hamilton. wall cot, a general. appointing men like edwin randolph, general. and if there ever was a time and country with military leaders in charge that had the most at stake and generals in the most important post, it was then.
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instead, general washington relinquished the most powerful position in the land and refused a third presidential term. something that many of the oppone opponent cannot say with their own party. and instead, what we see is a peaceful transition of government led i by example. he said the example. we should expected no less than general washington. he like all of the other warriors truly understood what it meant to serve the country. if you look at our own secretaries of state, historically nearly one-third had military service with no less than ten obtaining senior rank. notable ben like randolph, pickering with be money row, buchanan, marshal, risk, kissinger yb schultz, baker, hague, christopher and powell remie reminus that military leaders are most often the most
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competent leaders of foreign policy. one could argue it is almost as if america has a phobia of civilian control of diplomacy t. their achievements were so notable we often forget they served in the military at all. general mattis is warrior. he will put the united states above all other concerns and will uphold and defend the constitution. el do it with humility, distinction, honor and continued selfless service. he needs to be waiver end confirmed immediately for the good of our warriors who serve and defend us at night and for the good of the country. thank with you be mr. chairman. i yield back my time. >> gentleman yield back. i'm not going to cut anybody off. i just want members to know in roughly 30 minutes we will have about an hour's worth of vote on the floor. we just want to keep that in mind. mr. garmindi. >> thank one mr. chairman.
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with great respect to my colleague and respent comment he made this is in no way demeaning or in any other way putting down or saying anything negative about the extraordinary military and members of this committee and others pass past who served in different positions.t who se different positions. this is about the constitution. article 1, section 8, which says it is the congress that has ultimate control. there should be no doubt in our minds here that general mat sis an extraordinary individual and will undoubtedly serve just as the gentleman said, with distinction an honor. however with the ongoing power struggle between the congress and the administration, we've
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seen this in past, when the congress of the united states and last congress did not take up its responsibility to issue declaration of war or as we now call it authorization to use military force. the senate did. house of representatives did not. we abdicated the most important power that we possess. and in fact this committee exists for one reason. thaents and that's to carry out article 1 section 8. we are about it lose the first power struggle traditional down through history between the administrative branch and congress. the chairman and ranking member correctly asked that general mattis pair before this committee. he agreed to us. but he was told not to appear.
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you can look at this any way you want to but this is the first of what will be many issues that will face this committee and this congress about our role in the constitution. the civilian control of the military is fundamental. general washington gave up his commission to become president and indeed he did bring into positions as we have historically, military men and women who have performed with exceptional grace, dignity and wort worthiness. this is why they exist at all. and for us to allow an administration, not yet in power, to deny us the
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opportunity to hear from the next secretary of defense, is not in our long-term and even short term interests. two major issues have been raised about the way in which the current legislation is written. both important. it's open-ended. prs and we may not like a person who would come next.and we may o would come next. and the issue of the military code of justice is profoundly important. we ought to address those. and my good colleague at the other end of this row could take up this matter and rules committee and allow us to amend the legislation opt floor. if we were to do that then the senate would be in a bind, wouldn't it? they might have to have 60
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votes. it is because they want to avoid that that we are denied the opportunity to amend the bill in the way it should be done. but the rules committee could give us that opportunity. we will take this up and hopefully we will do what is right along the way here. i just want to remind us that this is the first of many incidents and previous congress and previous congress before that waived the most fundamental of our obligations. i hope we do not begin this congress in the same way. but i fear that we are about to. for all these reasons i intend to vote no. >> mr. molton? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to begin by acknowledging my friend mr. connaway's comment. in our cloetsd door roundtable, numerous reasons were given for why this time period originally
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ten yearsaway's comment. in our cloetsd door roundtable, numerous reasons were given for why this time period originally ten years but now seven years exist in the law. in a department sometimes known for interservice rivalries, sometimes a member of the military will have a particular allegiance to their particular branch of service. it is hard to imagine a retired marine general having a particular allegiance to the marines. but perhaps mr. chairman, that's just because my own detox is going well. it is a true honor to serve on this committee. i'm so proud as an american and marine veteran to serve here and to serve under you. you are someone i brag about often back in my home state of massachusetts. but because our duty on this committee is to live up to the
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constitution that you read, in our opening remarks, i do not think this is a proud day for this committee. and my colleague, mr. russell, raised in a very eloquent speech numerous examples of military leaders who proudly served in our civilian government. most of these are from the past. most in fact served at time when we still had slaves. there are laws that we have passed as a congress that we ought to abide by. one of those laws was in fact the defense act of 1947. and we have a duty and obligation not just to live up to the constitution but to those laws that we, as congress, have passed. mr. chairman, you mentioned also in your opening remarks, the fact that we are talking about
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an extraordinary individual. i couldn't agree more with that statement. i serve proudly under general mattis. in iraq in 2003. and in the first marine division. you also mentioned an extraordinary situation. and i think we all know what that means. and i believe we have a duty on this committee to live up to our private words and concerns with public debate. fundamentally that is our job and committee under the constitution and obligation to the american people and to the men and women who put their lives on the line for that constitution and for us every single day. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. turner? >> thank you, mr. chairman. you began this day telling us
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about the bipartisan commitment of this committee which should be a record, i think, that is honored. and in this discussion we've heard such words as dishonor, tyranny, threat to the constitution, democracy and even a question as to whether or not members who support this take seriously their responsibilities to this committee. while all those statements were being made, a representative bishop next to me pointed out that on c-span 2 the senate took up the matter of general mattis and the issues of a waiver and the vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan eby pa bipartisan at 81-17. so i will be part of voting in favor of this as we vote in favor of this today. thank you. >> mr. canha?
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did i get that rank? >> thank you mr. thornberry and smith for making this one of the house committees that is truly bipartisan. it is an honor to be on the committee and i want to recognize congressman turner who said this would be a great committee to be on and thanks for your recommendation. i was at university where general mattis spent some time. ways laughing when my legislative aid, geo, who had him for class and probably has more of an ability to talk to him than i did, i said that shows you where freshman members of congress rank on the totem pole in washington. but general mattis and others talking, i will say at stanford he add reputation of being accessible to student. he talked with tech leaders and
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others about the future of cybersecurity and what we needed to do as a country. and so my support for ranking member smith and association with his comments has nothing do with sending a message of kis unity. but more a hope that if general mattis is confirmed that he will take the same spirit that he had at stanford which is being accessible to folks and being abscessable to this committee and i have confidence that he hats vision to modernize the military and to listen to folks. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's not forget hr 393 before us didn't talk about general mattis. it just talks in broad
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categories. let us not forget that legislatures congress before us felt it was necessary to have limitations. whether it began at ten years and went to seven. the one thing we must not forget is they never did way with it. and there's a reason why. and the reason that there is a basic tenant. and that many of us believe in that this is civilian control. and this brings us to general mattis because of course we can't have this discussion without that in context. in 2016, in the general views of the military, and to press and the book that he author said called ensuring a civil military connection. he was very concerned about this
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very topic. he talked about 40 years of an all civilian -- i mean all volunteer military. 15 years of continuous war and what is that impact on the military. he also kept mentioning the relationships between the civilian society and military has to be strong and has to be healthy. and it has to be based on respect and understanding. he made it a point to say that scholars of civil military relations are always fixated on the risk of military insubordination to the civilian control. he also says scholars of civilian military relations worry inordinately about the prospects of the american military growing resentful of
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its civilian military masters. these are very poignant words in the context of what we are looking at today and what the senate will do, we are not confirming him. we're not saying general mattis, you can't be this, if the waiver goes through. we're not saying that. all we're saying is that as equal house in the united states congress, we, as members, should have had the opportunity to ask him about these thoughts. very thoughtful thought. but we need to know. we have a right to know. what does he mean about the concerns that people have? how does he feel about the seven-year ban and why the waiver should be applicable to him. i think when you look and you read his writings, and he is
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called warrior monk, he is called mad dog, he is call a variety of things. we, i believe, deserve the opportunity to hear it directly from him as to what his views are. because this is a waiver. that they -- if people before us, the congresss before us thought it wasn't necessary, they could have done away with it. but they didn't. they kept seven years. they put ten years. why? why? what did they think that we should ignore today? what do we want to ask general mattis? and like i said, this is about general mattis. this is not about whether he can be secretary of defense. this is about our rights and
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what we should be able to ask a gentleman, who himself, is very concerned about civilian military relations. thank you mr. chair. i yield back. >> ms. porter? >> thank you. i'm concerned about the trump transition team that made this decision was not elected by the people and i heard my colleague talk about some of the wonderful men and women sitting here who are serving in congress but they were elected. and we were elected also. and it is our responsibility to uphold the constitution. so i wish that, and i appreciate the general's service. i know him. i have seen him in committee. i think he has been a marvelous public servant and wonderful general and is certainly capable of doing this job. but he still should have come here, aeb he was willing to come here, aeb the trump transition
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team that was not elected prevented that. i'm concerned about that wab that interference here. there is agreement apparently on both side of the aisle that general mattis should have come here and that he wanted to. and i think that is really important agreement that we have. but there's another issue that i think i would like to just state for the record and i've heard some of my colleagues talk about this as well in that we are all love this country. we're on this committee because we take this so seriously, our security. i'm a military spouse. i know there are a number here who are military spouses or served. i don't believe that's an issue. that is a comment on a general. of course it's not. it is a comment and belief about what we need do and to adhere to the constitution. as my colleague said, this could have been changed by other congresss and they chose not to. so for us to step into this right now, without even hearing general mattis, i think is not a
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wise step to take. my final point here, is when you look at the language, it doesn't say general mattis. for those who say, let's do this because he is strong, a great heard, he has all these skills, imagine if they decided that it wasn't going to be general mattis. the way this is written, it could belieutenant or someone without all of that experience, without all of that warrior experience. would we vote differently? i think we have to take the name out of this bill as we look at it and decide based on that and not whether it is general mattis or not. thank you for the clans hance te my say about this, mr. chairman. but i will vote no reluctantly. thank you. >> mr. rork?
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to say i have the greatest respect for my colleagues and despite things that were said, i don't think anyone in this room is afraid of a warrior class or in any way does anything but honor the service of those who put on the uniform. i dent think anyone is an enemy of the cops tugs. i do think an extraordinary request is being made of the house and of this committee. and the most basic ordinary court see is not being provided to this committee to answer you're concerns or to hear the testimony of general mattis directly. there could be for me right now this week no greater signal of the incoming administration's belief in the fundamental
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principle of civilian control of the military than to have general mattis appear before this committee to answer our questions and give his statements and to form the record as one of my colleagues said. and so for as much respect as i have for him, and as inclined as i am to support this and because of my profound respect for the chairman of this committee, and for my friends on the other side, i think it comes down to what mr. courtney said earlier, which when you look at this as a matter of the people and in this case the person verus tsus the in this case the law should always triumph. want to make sure that i and this committee do the right thing. i am compelled by mr. byrne's argument that for the men and women currently serving in harm's way, it is imperative to
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have a secretary of defense in place. and i'm also sympathetic to the argument made by mr. conaway, that we want do this as a unified body to the degree that we can and should not be a decision made along partisan lines. this is important for all of us and it is my appeal to every single member here, that we move out of this committee unified in disapproving the bill before us. compelling the president-elect to bring mr. mattis before us to answer our questions. we can still do that. he, the president-elect, still has the opportunity to do the right thing. it will not prevent him from being able to nominate and place and appoint that secretary of defense in time to take care of our service members. i don't think there is any more awesome responsibility in our constitution than that that is given to us when it comes to sending our men and women into harm's way. many of them who will lose their
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lives and many who will be asked to take the lives of others. i think we should jealously guard our prerogatives and honor our responsibility. in doing that, i think for this committee, we need to vote no today. we need to compel president-elect to bring general mattis before us. going together we can in a unifi unified do the best thing for our country, constitution and men and women everybody serving in harm's way around the world bp with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. castro?with that, mr. chd back. >> mr. castro? >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know i have great respect for this committee, chairman, colleagues and more respect for general mattis. he is a military hero in our country. i will vote no today. not because i think his record isn't a stellar one, but because to me this is an early indication of how the trump administration is going to deal with the united states congress
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and specifically with the house of representatives. i think general mattis, i think this vote would go forward and this bill would go forward if we waited a few days and allowed him to come testify. the point has been made that he is very willing to come here and testify before this committee, which which i think makes sense, because he just did that in the senate and there was no problem because he just did that in the senate and there was no problem. so the fact donald trump kept him from coming to testify is more disturbing. this to me is early indication that mr. trump will continue to push the boundaries and see how far he can get, basically ignoring the responsibility and rights of this committee, and of this congress. and i think there should be an early push back to let him know that we're going to play our rightful constitutional role.
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so today by going forward with this bill and when we vote on it tomorrow on the house floor, i think that he is going to take from that that he can essentially do the same on other policy issues. and so i would say that over all, it is a bad omen of things to come. i hope that my colleagues who are inclined to support general mattis because of his stellar record will consider how this will neuter early on this committee and the house of representatives, vis-a-vis, the presidency. i yield back, chairman. >> mr. vizi. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general mattis is a very tremendous warrior. i have the greatest confidence he would be a great secretary of defense. but the framers of the constitution were clear in their belief that civilian control of the military is what what would be best for our country. and winning freedom from britain, the framers noticed that king there controls the
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military and our founding fathers did not want that here on american lands. i'm happy that general mattis spoke out about climate change, commitment to not use torture and pushing back against the incoming administration and reaffirming america's role in maintaining air superiority. i only wish he would come before the committee and answer questions before us so we can make sure that he is going to keep this independent streak and answer some of these questions and concerns that people have before the house of representatives. therefore, i will be voting no, but do think this man is one of the most tremendous generals we've had in the history of united states military. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> it doesn't get any better than mr. orourke, mr. moulton, a
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number of members have made the case why we have the opportunity to have general mattis come before us so we could be sure that this committee gets to do its job. i think those remarks were very well made and on point as a number of other members who are as well pb i do want to briefly apologize to mr. byrne. by 1:00 a.m. comment wasn't meant to imfply anything. that's what i heard. you made me happy to know it is a lot earlier than that. for years i've been a legislature and i find it interesting, no matter which party it is, when a controversy, bill, it is passed late and passed in the dead of night. i never believed that. it doesn't matter whether it is 1:00 a.m. or 2:30 in the afternoon, it is the same bill. last thing i would say, is the remar remarks about how it would be great to be unified and it
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would. but again i reference mr. orourke's remarks and we could be unified in standing up for responsibility and without harming any of the things that have been said. general mattis can be sworn in as secretary of defense and simply said appreciate you saying you're not going to send him. we're not voting for this until you do. and it has been told to me that this is some low level transition person who made the decision not to send him. i'm quite certain that rather quickly, he would be made available. because as we have all heard, general mattis is more than willing to be here. i watched the senate hearing and i think they got done at 12:30. they got done remarkably quickly. we could have heard from them and been done an hour ago. what we are really asking is that committee stand up for itself and say, no, you're not going to push us around. we do want to hear from him. and the last remark on that is it is great no vote in favor of general mattis. they had the opportunity to do
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their job as was intended. and general mattis i think most of us watched on tv. testifying and answered their questions, not forever. and everybody had five minutes. did a good job. and they had that chance. so a lot easier for them to take that vote. and the last thing, civilian control and military is something that's been talked about and you know, whether it it appears in the constitution or not, it is something that we have long held dear and as i believe mr. moulton made the point, we also uphold the law answers it is the law that you have to be out of the service for seven years to serve as secretary of defense. i would add that a lot of others members, including mr. conawan, voted for seven-year. if it wasn't reasonable to amend it from ten, i think in 2008 will, we could have got rid of it. the law was made and it has a
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purpose and i think some purposes have been brought out by other members of the committee. there is a reason for it. if there isn't a reason for it during any number of the times that the republicans controlled the spot, could have got rid of it. or democrat for that matter. all we are asking today is that we uphold the law. and uphold importance of this committee and we don't just roll over because somebody in trump tower said, no, we're not going to send him. by the way, i think 24 hours before we had already planned on having him here, it had been noticed by this committee, that general mattis would appear before us. he said he was going to appear before us. and someone said, no, we don't want to. general mattis can handle himself. you watched him testify. whaen are and what are we going to do to
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him? and it would allow us to do the job. and so our failure to stand up for that, i think, is a mistake. and that is the reason that i'm going to be opposing this piece of legislation. i yield back. and with one final thing, i think an excellent debate and i want to thank members of both parties for their comments. we have outstanding individuals on committee and i am privileged to serve with all of you. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman and i agree there's been good discussion. i agree with many of the points that have been made. let me just touch briefly on three points. as far as the text of the legislation, i think at some point the comment was made that it's open ended. it says the section applies only to the first person appointed. it's got to be -- not within three years, but it can be less than seven. it's clunky, i admit, but
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everybody who voted for the cr, which on the democratic side was everybody but mr. castro and mr. giago. >> i'm sorry. quick point. we objected to that. i just want to make it clear. the democrats objected to that language. we just weren't prepared to shut down the government over it. >> i understand. i didn't support everything in the cr either. >> exactly. >> but my point is that the cr language, impefrfect as it is, s what has dictated what the language in the bill before us and the identical language in the senate. i would -- i wouldn't have written it that way, but the reason it is the way it is -- it will apply to general mattis. it will go away. if somebody else wants to do this, then a separate piece of legislation will have to move through congress. civilian control has been talked about a lot. i just refer members to the
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roundtable discussions as well as the testimony that the senate had earlier this week. there's lots of parts of civilian that control the military. it's not a one-string item. so we're part of that. there's lots of parts of that and the assessment of everybody who has at least talked to us in the senate is that all of the civilian control protections are strong enough that they support granting this waver. last point. let's of talk about the prerogatives of this complemitt and the house. a little bit of mention -- a lot of mention about executive versus legislative. not nearly as much mention about house versus senate. i want to remind everybody that the only precedent for this was 1950. general marshal did not appear before us or the senate and that bill was passed and signed into law. so the idea that we are doing
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something drastically different from what happened in the past, that the constitution is going to collapse because we're not standing up for ourselves i think is at odds with the historical record. none of that argues -- means that i change my mind. this is a big deal. he should have been able to come up and talk to us. it would have got our relationship off on a good foot. it would have given him a very strong bipartisan vote of support. all of those reasons are absolutely true. as i said in my opening statement unfortunately short sightedness prevailed, but i do not believe it is a constitutional crisis for us to follow the example of 1950. one other point and mr. burne made it. the discussion that we've had here is important, but the rest of the story is men and women are risking their lives all
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around the world. they need a secretary of defense. anything we do other than pass this bill today will mean they do not have a secretary of defense on january 20th and i think it's important for the world, for them, to see that we have general mattis in place to fulfill that important role on that day. if there's no further discussion, without objection the bill is considered as read for amendment and open for amendment at any point. are there any amendments to the bill? if not, the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina mr. will sauns for tswilson. >> i move that we adopt the bill for it to pass. >> questions on the bill. members in favor say aye. the ayes have it.
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request a recorded vote. the clerk will call the role. >> mr. thornberry. >> aye. >> mr. smith. >> no. >> mr. smith votes no. >> mr. brady votes no. >> mr. wilson. >> aye. >> mr. wilson votes aye. mrs. davis. mrs. davis votes no. mr. lobeon votes aye. mr. longamen votes no. mr. bishop votes aye. mr. larson votes no. mr. turner votes aye. mr. cooper votes no. mr. rodgers. mr. rodgers votes aye.
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ms. padio votes no. mr. franks votes aye. mr. courtney votes no. mr. schuster votes aye. ms. songuz votes no. mr. conway votes aye. mr. garamindy votes no. mr. lanborn votes aye. ms. spear votes no. mr. wittman votes aye. mr. vico votes no. mr. hunter votes aye. mr. gab ard votes no. m kaufman votes no. mr. norcross votes no.
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mr. scott. mr. scott votes aye. mr. giago votes no. mr. brooks. mr. brooks votes aye. mr. molten votes no. mr. cook. mr. cook votes aye. mrs. hannabussa votes no. mr. bridenstein votes aye. ms. cha porter votes no. dr. winstrop votes aye. ms. rossen votes no. mr. burn. mr. burn votes aye. mr. megechin votes no. mr. graves votes aye. mr. carbahall votes no.
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ms. stefonic votes aye. mr. brokwn votes no. mrs. murphy votes no. mr. knight votes aye. mr. conna votes no. mr. russell votes aye. mr. peters. mr. peters votes no. dr. dajarlay votes aye. mr. argular votes no. dr. abraham votes aye. mr. castro votes no. mr. kelley votes aye. mr. galager votes aye. mr. gates votes aye.
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mr. bacon votes aye. mr. banks votes aye. ms. chaney votes aye. >> clerk will report the result. >> mr. chairman, there are 24 aye votes and 28 no votes. >> without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. mr. brady. >> yes.
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consistent with rules i would like to assert the right of any minority to supplement views for inclusion to the house on the bill just reported. >> pursuant to house rule 11 all members are entitled to not less than two calendar days to file such views in writing. asking that consent staff be allowed to make necessary changes to bill. without objection so ordered. no further business, the committee stands adjourned.
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so the house armed services committee voting 34-28 to wave the national security act of 1947 allowing retired general james mattis to be able to be considered for secretary of defense as he was nominated to that post by president-elect donald trump.
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general mattis retired in 2013 and the current law requires retired military to be out of the service for seven years. if you missed any of this committee hearing, you'll be able to watch it again at at the end of general mattis confirmation hearing this morning, the committee voted in favor of the waver and the full senate took action on the waver approving it on a vote of 81-17. the waver needs a vote in the full house which is expected sometime tomorrow. on cspan 3 it's today's senate confirmation hearing for general mattis. the senate hearing, the armed services committee is chaired by senator john mccain.


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