Here’s what they’re saying about Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin’s hearing Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

“America faces unprecedented challenges around the world, and it’s imperative that we have a Secretary of Defense who is ready on day one to lead our brave men and women in uniform and work at home and abroad to keep America safe,” the Biden team said in a statement on Tuesday. “Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin’s hearing today demonstrated again that he is the leader we need in the Pentagon, and it underscored the importance of the Senate acting quickly to confirm him.”

“Since being nominated by President-elect Biden, Secretary-designate has received bipartisan support because of his decades of distinguished military service, and because of the experience he’ll bring with him to the Pentagon as a groundbreaking Secretary of Defense — prepared to meet the crises that face the next administration and restore America’s standing in the world,” the Biden team added.

Here’s what they’re saying about Secretary-designate Austin’s hearing:

Sen. Jim Inhofe: The National Defense Strategy is just as important & relevant today as it was 3 years ago. Glad to hear @LloydAustin agrees this document is on track for today’s challenges – especially since he’ll be charged w/ implementing it if confirmed as #SECDEF. [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: “In our initial conversation, and during the confirmation hearing, General Austin provided repeated assurances that he’ll safeguard civilian control of the military, which is absolutely critical. Reflecting on our personal meeting and the information provided this afternoon, I have decided that as I did with General Mattis, I will support a waiver to allow him to serve in this civilian capacity. The Secretary of Defense position carries immense responsibilities and requires experience, skill and determination to match the scope of the threats before us. I believe Lloyd Austin has what it takes to provide the Department the leadership it needs to face down these challenges, which is why I plan to support his nomination.” [Statement, 1/19/21] 

Rep. Andy Kim: I’ve seen @LloydAustin work in the Situation Room. He’s both ready to lead from day one and will uphold and respect civilian control of our military. @RepAdamSmith is right – the stakes are too high and we need to grant a waiver so he can be confirmed immediately. [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

Rep. Adam Smith: Today I sent a letter to all my Democratic colleagues in the House, urging them to vote in favor of granting Secretary of Defense designate @LloydAustin the waiver necessary to complete his historic confirmation. (1/x)

I have spoken with Secretary-designate Austin multiple times since his nomination & I am one hundred percent convinced that he understands the importance of strong civilian control of the military, and that he is completely committed to upholding this cherished principle (2/x)

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In short, I have no doubt that civilian control of the military will be completely upheld by Secretary-designate Austin when he is our Secretary of Defense. (3/x)

I also strongly believe it is critically important that Secretary-designate Austin be confirmed as quickly as possible after President-elect Biden becomes President on January 20th. (4/x)

For four years, the Department of Defense has continued to deal with attempts by President Trump and his cronies to undermine the independence and capability of the Department. (5/x)

We need a Senate-confirmed Secretary of Defense who has been selected by President-elect Biden as soon as possible to address this deeply disturbing reality. The risk involved in delay is great. (6/x)

Lastly, we cannot overlook the historical significance of Secretary-designate Austin being the first African American selected to be Secretary of Defense in our history. (7/x)

Our country is facing a violent insurrection from right wing extremists, driven primarily by white supremacist organizations. Troubling evidence continues to emerge that the military itself has servicemembers sympathetic to extreme views and white supremacist causes. (8/x)

Blocking @LloydAustin’s confirmation will send a false, dangerous message that Congress believes a highly qualified African American is unable to do the job – that would be a grave mistake. (9/9) [Tweet Thread, 1/18/21] 

Rep. Jason Crow: Last week, I had a glimpse into the heart and mind of Lloyd Austin. What I saw was a man who understands that our military is not just a formation of planes, tanks, and troops, but is a standard bearer of our values. A leader who understands that America is strongest when we lead with our values and channels the full strength of our diversity.

Leaders are judged by how they meet the challenges of the moment. Lloyd Austin is the leader our military needs right now, and I will vote to support his waiver. [Op-Ed, The Hill, 1/19/21]

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: The nation needs a leader over the Pentagon that respects civilian control, to build up morale of our armed forces, and bring consistency, stability, and leadership at the highest level to the Department of Defense. That is Lloyd Austin, retired General. Further, as an African American woman, I believe this historic moment will further heal and unify the nation. [Op-Ed, The Hill, 1/19/21]

Rose Gottemoeller, Former NATO Deputy Secretary General: @LloydAustin has unparalleled qualifications to preside over the DOD. Our national defense is in good hands. [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers: Gen. Lloyd Austin on Secretary of Defense nomination: If confirmed I will quickly review the@DeptofDefense’s contributions to COVID-19 relief effort and ensuring we are doing everything we can to help distribute vaccines across the country. [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

Human Rights Campaign: Today, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense was asked by @SenGillibrand if he supports ending the discriminatory ban on trans troops. General Austin: “I support the President’s plan to overturn the ban.” [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: “Easy answer.” General Austin responds to @SenWarren’s query about the importance of diplomacy with “I think it is absolutely important that the State Department be resourced adequately.” [Tweet, 1/19/21] 

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