Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 91° Clear
News >  Nation/World

House panel approves bill to let Mattis serve

Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The House Armed Services Committee has approved legislation to permit retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as defense secretary.

The GOP-led panel voted 34-28 to pass a measure that grants Mattis a one-time exception from the law that bars former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the job.

Mattis retired from military service in 2013. Before Mattis can join the Cabinet, Congress must approve a one-time exception to a law requiring a military officer to be out of uniform for at least seven years before leading the Pentagon. Even some of Trump’s strongest critics say Mattis merits the exception.

A vote on the bill in the full House is scheduled for Friday. The Senate easily passed similar legislation on Thursday, 81-17.

Before the committee voted, Republicans and Democrats criticized the Trump transition team for refusing to allow Mattis to appear before the panel. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the committee’s Republican chairman, says “short-sightedness prevailed.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.