WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) will vote in favor of a waiver to allow Department of Defense Secretary-designee Lloyd Austin to serve as head of the Pentagon despite his recent military service.

“In 2017, I voted to grant a waiver to allow James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. I did so because Mr. Mattis’ skills and judgments were a needed adult voice in the room, and I believe in his case, my vote was vindicated as Mr. Mattis served as admirably as possible in that cabinet,” said Rep. Pascrell. “President Biden was overwhelmingly elected by the American people. He is entitled to the team of advisers he most trusts, and that includes Lloyd Austin. General Austin is an exceptionally qualified individual who had many ground-breaking achievements during his career. His historic nomination is well deserved.

“This vote in no way challenges the wisdom of keeping day-to-day management of our armed forces in civilian hands. As a veteran myself, I appreciate the insight of the Founders of this country who understood that a democracy can best endure when a military does not control its own destiny. That farsightedness endures and must be respected above the politics of the moment.”