WASHINGTON, DC – Today, on a bipartisan basis, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to advance a legislative waiver and favorably report the nomination of retired General Lloyd J. Austin III to serve as Secretary of Defense.

After holding two separate hearings to consider both the waiver as well as the nomination, the committee approved both measures by voice vote.  The legislation granting a waiver and the nomination now both advance to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated:

“Every member of this committee cares deeply about our national defense and that is reflected in this bipartisan action to advance this effort.  Given the unique challenges we face, it is imperative to have a confirmed Secretary of Defense in place as soon as possible.

“The Senate must work together to protect the American people.   There is an urgent and widely recognized need to move forward with getting a new national security team in place.

“I salute Chairman Inhofe for his bipartisan commitment to moving this process forward in a thoughtful, deliberative manner.  I hope the Senate will soon confirm former General Austin on a strong, bipartisan vote so he may begin the urgent task of leading the Pentagon, defending our country, and addressing pressing and complex security challenges.”