tv House Committee Considers Waiver for Defense Secretary Nominee General... CSPAN January 13, 2017 12:18am-2:02am EST
>> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday, january 20. c-span will have live coverage of all the days events and ceremonies. c-span.orgspan and and listen on the free c-span radio app. >> today, james mattis to become the next defense secretary. current model requires former members of the military to be retired for at least seven years. this the hearing -- this hearing is one hour 45 minutes. >> may you come to order.
the committee now meets to hr 393,r hr three 930 -- granting a one-time exception to code which limits of 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 these are circumstances which i did not expect us to face. when general mattis was named as the nominee for secretary of defense, i could not have been more pleased. as i said publicly and privately to members of the committee, i believe civilian control of the military is an important principle of our government. i also believe that this is an extraordinary situation and an extraordinary individual, the combination of which 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 the committee staff to go through the law and the precedent when congress granted an exception to george c marshall to serve as secretary of defense in 1950. the other roundtable was with respected outside experts to discuss civilian controlled military and the other issues that arise by the exception. my intention, as i made it clear to the committee and 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. m let me be clear, general -- and let me be clear, general
mattis was willing and eager to do so. i spoke 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 many times in a variety of capacities before the committee. on tuesday night, i was informed that the president elect bosch transition team would not allow transitiont-elect's team would not allow general mattis to testify after all. i think it is 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 that would have only increased the confidence in the wisdom of his selection. i think it would have added strength to his position and got
in the partnership between him and the committee off to a good start and he recognized those advantages immediately. unfortunately, shortsightedness prevailed. nonetheless, we are where we are, and the top priorities for this committee have always been a national security of the united states and support for men and women who serve it. with that as our guide, we should approve the exception today that allows general mattis to serve as secretary of defense so that there is no gap in a important office, and is so -- 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 you would like to make. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm disappointed with where we are at for a number of reasons. i want to say up front that the
chairman and i spoke when this started and we are on the exact same page, that we wanted general mattis here. i spoke with general mattis on the phone and he was eager to , testify and answer our questions. and this was listed as a hearing that would have been testified -- that was going to have him testified two days ago. then 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 out of the process. in fact, the reason i will stay in a moment, there is no point in us having the discussion we are about to have. with the bill in front of us. and i think this is something that we have battled over for a long time. usurpingtive branch the authority of the legislative branch. for the last 8 years, it has been republicans making that charge at a democratic president
and here we are at the very , start of, or even before the start of the republican administration, and that is what they are doing. they are making our committee irrelevant to this process. civility can -- civilian controlled military is incredibly important. it would be incredibly important to hear from general mattis, for all of us to hear from him, directly on that point. and the fact that he is not here is going to make me personally oppose this change in the law. and i want to make it clear, this is not a waiver. it has been commonly called that. there is no provision in the law for a waiver. there is a law that was passed in 1950 and amended in 2008, to go from 10 years to seven years, that says that basically if you have not been out of the military for longer than seven years, you cannot serve as a secretary of defense. and what that means is, right now as the law stands, it is against the law for general mattis to be secretary of defense.
so in order to fix it, we do not need a waiver, we need to change the law. when you change a law, when you are doing it right, it goes through a committee, the house and the senate. the armed services committee passed the law in 1950 and then 2008, so we should have a say in that. and we do not. and the reason i say that it is irrelevant, is because supposedly, the house resolution 383, 393, whatever it is, the 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, it doesn't matter. it is not going anywhere. and the committee will meet at 1:00 in the morning to discuss the senate bill.
so, what we are doing here is literally a waste of our time. this bill does not mean anything. we are just going to catch the senate bill on the fly, on the floor, have the debate there, and send it out. what has happened is, a critically, critically important matter, who will be the secretary of defense with citizen control of the military, the incoming president's team has decided that the house armed services committee is irrelevant. what i think we should do is not say that that is not acceptable. we will not change the law until general mattis appears before i take -- before us. i take the chairman's point that we want to have secretary of defense as soon as possible, but i get the suspicion that there is no reason for whatsoever not to testify. he can more than handle himself. he has done it many times before. all of a sudden, they would
change their mind and he would be available and we would get the opportunity. by not doing that, by saying, ok, we are irrelevant, and we agree, we're abdicating our authority in this committee. and i think that would be an enormous mistake. the final point i want to make is the reason that we go through the legislative process that we go through, is to make sure that pieces of legislation are as good as they possibly can be. there is actually a couple of problems with the senate bill. think the thing we have in front of us is the exact same language as the senate bill, not that that matters. this bill is not going anywhere. but the senate bill is different than the one that was written for general marshall in 1950 and ways one of which is , really important the other is , just potentially important. the first is this bill does not name general mattis as the one-time exception to the law. it is an unnamed person. now i believe it was also
, written in such a way that they only get one person, so it is not like this means four years from now or three years from now president trump wants , to name somebody else, he not do it with respect to this law. but it does mean if general mattis is not confirmed for secretary of defense, that president-elect trump could pick somebody else. we are changing the flaw for general mattis and general mattis only because if we do not, we do not know who else might come along and what their views might be on civilian control of the military or anything else for that matter. more problematic, also in 1950, for general marshall, and this is something i did not know, but if you serve in the military, and retire, you do your 20 years, i believe this is just for general officers, you are for the rest of your
life as long as you are receiving that pension and legally required to receive the pension, your 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 realized that that is highly unlikely to happen, but in theory, president trump could court-martial him. if he did something in violation of the uc mj. that is why the separation of the civilianfrom is so important and that is why in 1950, they made the general marshall was exempt from the similar requirements. they also as i understand it, bradley took over the veterans administration, did the same thing for him, to make sure he was a civilian. if we were doing this properly, we could offer an amendment, and
we could change that. we would not just have to take the senate's language and swallow it. since we are not doing this , we could change this bill, but it is not going anywhere. the senate bill will be the bill that controls it. by abdicating our authority, i think we have made a huge estate. ae executive branch will have whole lot of opportunities to figure out how much they want to inform us. i want to say that i have been consistent even during the obama administration. i have spoken out when they board the authority of this committee, most notably when the was done and-- they released five prisoners and we had a requirement in the law that they were supposed to days before. i spoke strongly against president obama ignoring the authority of this committee. it is not just about, for me
anyway, what party the person happens to be an. it is about the authority of this committee and we are abdicating it. now, the only way we can change ow on the floor to vote on the senate bill and say no, the armed services committee of the house matters. every bit as much as the armed services committee of the senate and we should have our say. not doing that, we are not living up to a lot of what was said at the start of this hearing, about exerting the authority of this committee, as the chairman said so eloquently. it is not the president alone who runs the military. we have a say in it as well, except not today. today, we have decided to let it go and have no say in what i think is a pretty important issue when it comes to the national security of this country and the men and women who serve, so i would urge you to reject this bill that we have before us today, except that would be kind of redundant.
this bill has already been rejected. it has been rejected by the house republican leadership, caucus, and this bill is not going anywhere. the senate bill on the floor tomorrow is what we will debate. this bill is dead whether you vote for it or not, but i would urge, you know, that we reconsider letting the president-elect and the senate simply roll over us and take away our authority. and with that, i yield back. withdon't want to argue all the points that mr. smith made. many of the things he said i agree with. because we have a number of new , a further word of explanation is required, and obviously, mr. smith will have the chance to respond in any way he sees fit. the house bill that we are , the senateoday bill was was was to be voted on on the senate floor right now, are exactly the same words. those words came about because
the were depicted in continuing resolution that passed last december. the cr most people in the room voted for, and i have the exact list of people who did, the cr prescribed exactly the words that have to be in this resolution in order to be privileged in the senate. rep. thornberry: so that is the 393, the bill the senate are voting on on the floor, are exactly the same words and should not be amended. it loses itsded, privileged status in the senate. i think we will vote on the other bill tomorrow because the senate is ahead of us and voting on the floor right now. , and therefore, we can take what they have already have itomorrow and
available for the president-elect to sign on january 20. i want to emphasize that i think a lot of the points 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 is exactly the language that is long right now in the cr -- law right now in the cr that most people voted for. i had one other point outgoing to make and i forgot what it was. so, do you have anything else you would like to? forward, aeeding couple of announcements. if there are any amendments, they must be made in writing and 80 copies must be made available at the desk for distribution. the five-minute role allows all interested members to speak in an orderly manner.
submit written statements for the record. so ordered. smith andjection, mr. i have agreed to postpone any recorded votes on any amendments until the end of consideration of amendments. i call up now hr 393, a bill made available and distributed to members offices on tuesday. without objection, we will dispense with the first reading of the bill. is there any further discussion of the bill? gentlelady from california for five minutes. >> mr. chairman. i'm going to 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 insightful and informative. during that briefing, all the witnesses agreed that a hearing with general mattis was necessary to discuss the concerns of this committee surrounding the legislation we
are considering today. greatly appreciate your remarks. i think you are being put in a difficult and unnecessary position. after seven decades and one occasion when congress felt it weigh on protection on civilian control of the military , i urged my republican colleagues to take this seriously. without a 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 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 are setting the stage for expedited and similar process for the future. so should we rush? so willingly to throw away 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 1950? 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 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 to be irrelevant. mr. chairman, as i said during 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. >> 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 aimed at all at general mattis himself. again, as stated, he has been a
making and military force has to rest within the civilian leadership of this country. article 1 section 8 enshrines that within giving within congress warmaking powers. 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. it has been estimated that roughly 70% of the congress that was seated at that time is no longer here, and obviously, the threat they were dealing with it something no one in their wildest imaginations could have estimated or figured was going to be facing this country in 2017. in 2015, president obama actually came forward with a
proposal to amend and modify that use of force, in other words, inviting the congress to step up and engage in terms of its civilian role, and unfortunately, in the last congress, we didn't have hearings, let alone a vote in terms of modifying and 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 it was general dunford, the chairman of the 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 syria, iraq, and afghanistan. and the general enforced that earlier today.
in fact he invited civilian , control to be exerted to a much greater degree than it is today. there is a very disturbing trend that we had some opportunity today to turn around and to exercise by having a meaningful 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 authorization of use of 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 getting too much of a history lesson here. president from this, and as you heard, it was from 1950. then he give you the timeline. 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 it the same day. friday, two days after president truman asked for it, both committees have passed it out -- had passed it out, and both chambers had passed it. general marshal was not a
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. 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 advice and consent of nominations, the house does have the unique responsibility to weigh this on consequential -- weigh in on tremendously 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 its authority we are , instead expected to be rubber stamps to an incoming legislation that continues to show no 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. and i do want to go on record saying that i appreciate that.
i am disappointed that the new administration has reversed course and 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. -- founding fathers. 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. 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, mr. chairman. the ranking member referred to the potential of a rules committee meeting at 1:00 tomorrow morning. as a member of the rules committee i thought i could , inform this committee that the rules committee will start a meeting at 3:30 this afternoon on another matter that it is anticipated that it will comes to rules committee while rules committee is in the throes of that particular hearing. i think it is important to hear 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. and 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 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, mr. chairman. and let me begin by saying how weremely dismayed i am that are not provided 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 mr. chairman, i understand what a difficult position you are in. , appreciate the comments reflecting your frustration on this issue as well. 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 appreciate general mattis's
decades of distinguished service to our nation, i also believe that the 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 determining 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 provided an
opportunity to begin the 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. so by circumventing the process es and discounting the influence of this committee, i am consequently 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. i would have asked him 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 as a general officer serving in a political institution. so these questions as well as
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. and 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 most esoteric conversations i have with my sons, i let them know that in this job everyday , we get to struggle with what the constitution means and what it compels us to do. sometimes for them it is a very boring conversation but it is , very true that one of the privileges of this job is that we actually have to try to embody what the words of the constitution mean, and we
struggle with that every day. and a few of those words are down in front of us and the chairman mentioned those 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 -- 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 the pentagon, and namely of course, this appointment of the next secretary of defense, this hearing is about that, not about secretary of the designated mattis.
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 just wanted a simple hearing to hear the secretary designate 's views on 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. 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. and i think we are frankly not starting off on the right foot when it comes to oversight. as a result, mr. chairman 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, mr. chairman. i share your disappointment that general mattis was prevented from appearing before this body today and i appreciate your strong statement to that effect. like many here, i watched general mattis in the senate this morning and i appreciate his knowledgeable and forthcoming testimony. but it is not a reasonable
substitute for his timely appearance before this committee. the deeply american principle of the civilian control of the military is an organizing tenant of our government. it is why, 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 decisions related to raising and organizing our armed forces and 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 it is the responsibility of the congress, the house included, to determine whether or not it is within the national interest to suspend a prohibition whose purpose is to
ensure 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 -- that the secretary derives 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 ensuring that our military remains a highly professional nonpartisan institution is vital , and demand that we closely scrutinize anything that could jeopardize its neutrality. only one waiver has been granted since the inception of the department of defense,
which was approved under different circumstances. 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, whose 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 control of the military in light of his very recent service. i'm deeply concerned that his time with us was cancelled bit y trump transition team, preventing us from exercising our authority and responsibility on behalf of the american people. i also have strong reservations regarding the language of the
bill that is likely to come over from the senate tomorrow. one major shortcoming of the bill is that it fails to designate general mattis by name. with that, mr. chairman i will , not support legislation under consideration today. >> mr. gallego. >> 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 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 decipher what those 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 debate among , mostly men, who the vast majority of them just finished serving in world war ii. they had vast respect for general marshal. they had a very intermate understanding of the military. 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 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 was 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 the tradition of civilian control of the military. with that i yield back my time. >> related to the gentleman's comments, let me make sure that everybody knows that this committee will prepare a report based on our action today and all members will have the opportunity to have the include additional or dissenting 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 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 you, 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 a 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 a waiver should be appropriate. my first choice indeed was to support the chairman that we would have had efforts for general to appear before the committee today. but i believe it is so crucial
expediteeed to mattis.g in general we know will continue the great tradition of civil military relationship. it is necessary for the 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 a abdicate our responsibilities as citizens. it is a corner stone of our democracy. the measure before us requires
careful thought and reasoned debate. we cannot did our jobs, have an informed discussion, or have confidence we will reach the right conclusion if the 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 the gravity upon the principle of civilian authority and to make sure that he understands the actions that are being asked for us to perform. we need the opportunity to ask these questions, to hear his answers and to weigh his views. for years, i have heard about holding the administration accountable. they have called for tougher oversight, tougher scrutiny, harder questions. now at the very first opportunity, they have chosen to roll over and giver the incoming administration exactly what they are asking for. no oversight, no scrutiny, no 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. thank you, mr. chairman. i look for to working with you. i yield the balance of my time. >> mr. conway? >> thank you. i sat here listening to much of the conversation and respect it. a lot of it is repetitive from a process stam standpoint. 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 have heard nothing during this process conversation that says anyone needs a seven-year detox program to shed themselves of the vices and nasty stuff you get by serving in military. we have a general officer
sitting on the front row. colonel in the secondn row. no one would remotely suggest that they are more loyal to the military than they are loyal to the con stit yenlt they constituents 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 that he approaches that job with as previous service as a military man. and the conversation, debate is high-minded and respectful. i understand that, but this is party line vote. you will send the next secretary
into his role to lead every man and woman in uniform with a split vote mean the majority and the majority and minority. and that does not send a very good message. i can assure you those young buck sergeants 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 the founders had it right when they chose to maintain 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 of exemplary experience who has the strength 's militaryr nation 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 better. if can you hear me from down here, i think you have been an
exemplary and fair chairman. you set a standard for bipartisanship in congress. 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 the 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 petulant, which seems to me is to say ok, 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 were to come here. but it is wrong for us to be a as a committee to abdicate our responsibility in this manner. 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. i urge my colleagues to join me. i thank you, mr. chairman for , your service to the country. i yield back. >> >> thank you.
>> mrs. speier. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in 1935 general george marshal 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." 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 of course of the two 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 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 civilians 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, this legislation creates a permanent imbalance between the civilian and military leadership roles in the department of defense. and it flies in the face of a core principle of our democracy which has control of our , military and government. as another general and president once warned us, "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." this is less about general
mattis, who 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 superior branch. we shall not be rolled over by the executive branch in our responsibilities as a separate and equal branch of government. mr. chairman, i applaud your leadership and your intellect, and i regret though that i must join my 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 speaks to civilian control of the military.
that the president has to in a certain fashion or manner 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. so 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, if you go back in history, when they were called secretaries of war, there were many who served in much shorter time span from the time they left uniform to the time they were called general. what are objectors afraid of? 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 some mark of cane. what are the real objections? do the 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 american battle-hardened warriors have provided peace more than their nonserving counter parts. they understand human suffering. the chaos of destroyed communities, loss of order, no public services, and death i weapons, disease or hopelessness is a reality. it is not academic. they also understand that we need to do anything to prevent such things. the greatest saber rattling often seems to occur from politicians that have never born the sword.
do the objectors also wish to say we are afraid that they might take over the government? i don't know. historically if there was ever an opportunity for that concern , it 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, a general. timothy pickering, a general. military surgeon. treasury appointment, alexander hamilton. walcott 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 posts, it was then. instead, general washington relinquished the most powerful position in the land and refused
a third presidential term. something that many of the opponents cannot say with their own party. and instead, what we see is a peaceful transition of government led by example. he set the example. we should have expected no less from 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 men like edmund randolph, pickering, buchanan, rusk, kissinger, shultz, baker hague, christopher powell remind us that military leaders are most often
the most competent leaders of foreign policy. one could argue it is almost as if america has a phobia of civilian control of diplomacy. their achievements were so notable we often forget they served in the military at all. general mattis is warrior. he will put the national security and peace of the united states above all other concerns and will uphold and defend the constitution. he will do it with humility, distinction, honor and continued , selfless service. he needs to be wavered and confirmed immediately for the good of our warriors who serve and defend us at night and for the good of the country. thank you, 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 you, mr. chairman.
with great respect to my colleague and his comments 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 past who served in 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 mattis is an extraordinary individual and will undoubtedly serve just as the gentleman said, with distinction and honor. however, there should also be no doubt in our mind that this is the first instance in this new congress and soon with the new administration of the ongoing power struggle between congress and the administration. we've 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. the house of representatives did not. we abdicated the most important power that we possess. and in fact this committee , exists for one reason. is to carry out the constitutional responsibility given to it in article 1, section 8. we are about it lose the first power struggle traditional down through history between the administrative branch and the congress. the chairman and ranking member correctly asked that general mattis appear before this committee. he agreed to do so. but he was told not to appear. you can take a look at this anyway 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 as given to us in the constitution. it was read to us at the outset of this hearing. 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 worthiness. why thisthis is about committee exists at all. and for us to allow an administration, not yet in power, to deny us the 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. person whonot like a would come next, and the issue of the military code of justice is profoundly important. we ought to address those. and my good colleague from the other end of this road could take up this matter in rules committee and allow us to amend the legislation on the floor. if we were to do that then the , senate would be in a bind, wouldn't it? they might have to have 60 votes to pass legislation.
but 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 the 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. conaway's comment. in our closed-door roundtable numerous reasons were given for , why this time period
originally 10 years, but now seven years, exists 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. as a marine veteran myself, 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. mr. chairman, it is a true honor to serve on this committee. i'm so proud as an american and as a 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
constitution that you read in your opening remarks i do not , think this is a proud day for this committee. and my colleague and fellow warrior, 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 of them 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 an extraordinary individual. i couldn't agree more with that statement.
i served proudly under general in iraq in 2003 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 duty 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 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 two, the senate took up the matter of general mattis and the issues of a waiver and the vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan at 81-17. so i am going to be very proud to join the overwhelmingly bipartisan group in the senate as we vote in favor of this today. thank you.
>> mr. canha? did i get that right? >> 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 had the privilege of being at stanford, where general mattis spent some time. ways laughing when my aide 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 have talked of his extraordinary service. i will say at stanford he add had a reputation of being extraordinarily accessible to students. he talked with tech leaders and
others about the future of cybersecurity and what we needed to do as a country. and so my support for ranking member smith in association with his comments has nothing do with sending a message of disunity, 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 i have confidence that he has vision to modernize the military and to listen to folks. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. let's all not forget hr 393 before us does not mention general mattis. it just talks about it in broad categories. let us not forget that legislatures, congresses, before
us felt it was necessary to have limitations, whether it began at 10 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 is because of the fact that there is a basic tenant out there that many of us , that is civilian control of the military. and this brings us to general mattis, because of course we can't have this discussion without that in context. in the, general mattis general views of the military, and to press and the book that he authored. it is called ensuring a civil military connection. he was very concerned about this 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 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 thoughts. 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 called warrior monk, he is
called mad dog. he is called all these 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 congresses 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 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, mr. chairman. 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, and he was willing to come here, and the trump transition team that was not elected prevented that.
i am concerned about that, 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 of people here who are military spouses or served. i do believe that that is not the 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 congresses and they chose not to. so for us to step into this right now, without even hearing general mattis, i think is not a wise step to take.
my final point here is when you look at the language, it doesn't say general mattis. so for those who are saying, is's do this because he strong, he has been a great leader, he has all the skills imagine if they decided that it , wasn't going to be general mattis. the way this is written, it could be a second lieutenant technically or a first lieutenant without all of that experience, without all of that and warriorom 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 rather than whether or not it is general mattis. thank you for the chance to have my say about this, mr. chairman, but i will vote no reluctantly. thank you. >> mr. rork?
>> 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 don't think anyone is an enemy of the constitution. i don't think the world will willr the constitutiona crumble or the world will fall apart. 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 principle of civilian control of the military than to have
general mattis appear before this committee to answer our questions and give his statements 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 who he is 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 thesus the country, thehis law should always triumph. i 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 serveing in harm's way, it is imperative to 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. and so i think it is important for all of us, and this 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. but 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 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. and in doing that, i think for this committee, we need to vote no today. we need to compel the president-elect to bring general mattis before us. and going forward, i think we can in a unified unified do the best thing for our country, constitution and men and women , everybody serving in harm's way around the world. with that, mr. chairman i yield , back. >> mr. castro? >> thank you for that, mr. , 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 and specifically with the house of representatives.
i think that 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 the was no problem, so the fact that donald trump has kept him from coming to testify is more disturbing. this to me is early indication that mr. trump is going to continue to push the boundaries and see how far he can get, basically ignoring the responsibility and the rights of this committee, and of this congress. and i think that there should be an early push back to let him know that we're going to play our rightful constitutional role. and so today, by going for it 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. in winning freedom from britain, the framers noticed that king their controlled the military and our founding fathers did not
want that here on american lands. i'm happy that general mattis has party shown a streak of independence in speaking out about issues like climate change, his commitment to not use torture and pushing back , against the incoming administration and reaffirming america's role in maintaining our 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. >> ranking member? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i can't make the argument any o'rourke, mr.. rourke,
moulton, a 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. i do want to briefly apologize to mr. byrne. that comment wasn't meant to imply 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 remarks remarks about how it would be great to be unified and it would. but again, i want to reference mr. o'rourke'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 we appreciateaid, 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. i think they got done at 12:30. they got done remarkably quickly. we could have heard from him 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 that the senate voted in favor of general mattis. they had the opportunity to do
their job as was intended. 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 it was a lot easier for them to take that vote. and the last thing, civilian control of the 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 held dear, and as i believe mr. moulton made the point, we also uphold the law , and 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. so if we did not think it was reasonable to amend it from ten, i think it was 2008, we could have got rid of it. the law was made and it has a purpose and i think some purposes have been brought out by other members of the committee.
so there is actually a reason for it. if there isn't a reason for it during any number of the times , that the republicans they couldthe spot, have got rid of it or democrat , for that matter. all we are asking today is that we uphold the law and the 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 then someone just decided, no, we don't want to. and for no good reason. general mattis can handle himself. you watched him testify. ,hat are we going to do to him you know? it just would have allowed us to do the job we were elected to do. 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 this has been an excellent debate, and i want to thank members of both parties for their comments. i think it proves what the chairman said at the outset, 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 that there has been good discussion. as i have said a couple of times 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. you have it in front of you. 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 everybody who voted for the cr, which on the democratic side was everybody but mr. castro and mr.
giago, supported the legislation. >> 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, impefrtrfect as it is, is what has dictated what the language in the bill before us and the identical language in the senate. as i said 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 roundtable discussions as well as the testimony that the senate had earlier this week.
there's lots of parts of civilian control of the military. it's not a one-string item. and 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. lots of talk about the prerogatives of this completemittee 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. which is also an undercurrent here. i just want to remind everybody that the only precedent for this was 1950. and 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 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. now none of that argues, or 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. i'm sorry, one other point, and mr. burne made it. all of this, the discussion that we have had here, is important, but the rest of the story is men and women are risking their lives all 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 20, 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. wilson, for the purpose of a motion. >> mr. chairman, i move that the committee adopt the bill to >> questions on the bill. members in favor say aye. those opposed say no. in the eye of the chair the ayes , have it. request a recorded vote.
the clerk will call the role. >> mr. thornberry. >> aye. >> mr. smith. >> mr. smith both 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. 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. gabard votes no. mr. kaufman votes no. aye. mr. norcross votes no. mr. scott votes aye. mr. giago votes no.
mr. brown votes no. mrs. murphy votes no. mr. knight votes aye. mr. conna votes no. mr. russell votes aye. 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. mr. bacon votes aye. mr. banks votes aye.
ms. chaney votes aye. >> clerk will report the result. >> mr. chairman, there are 24 34 aye votes and 28 no votes. >> without objection the motion is adopted and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. mr. brady. >> yes. yes, mr. chairman. 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 order reported. >> pursuant to house rule 11 all members are entitled to not less than two calendar days to file such views in writing. i ask unanimous consent staff be allowed to make necessary conforming technical and clerical changes to the bill, without objection, so ordered. with no further business the committee stands adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> when the house gavels in at
9:00 a.m. eastern time they will consider a 2017 budget resolution that includes a repeal of the a photo care act. you can watch live gavel to gavel coverage of the house here on c-span and c-span.org. ♪ ♪ >> c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, north dakota republican congressman kevin cramer will talk about a questionnaire he's preparing to send to media outlets asking how they handle political coverage. then, colorado democratic congresswoman diana to get will discuss democrat strategies to counter efforts by republican congressional members to repeal and replace the affordable care act. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal," beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern friday morning. join the discussion.