Congress has approved a waiver to facilitate the confirmation of Lloyd Austin, a retired U.S. Army general, as defense secretary under the administration of President Joe Biden, Defense News reported Thursday.
The House voted 326-78 and the Senate passed in a 69-27 vote a congressional waiver that would exempt Austin from a law that requires former military officials to wait seven years after retirement from active duty to serve in the top civilian job at the Department of Defense.
The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday passed the waiver to advance Austin’s nomination to the full chamber. The upper chamber is expected to have a confirmation vote by Friday.
Austin, who spent four decades in military service and retired in 2016 as head of U.S. Central Command, appeared before SASC members Tuesday to discuss his top priorities once confirmed. These include plans to address the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirm military alliances with countries in the Indo-Pacific.