Austin's House hearing canceled

By Tony Bertuca / January 19, 2021 at 1:18 PM

The House Armed Services Committee has canceled a planned Thursday hearing with retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, whom President-elect Biden has nominated to become defense secretary.

The hearing was scrapped because the committee has yet to name a full list of members, according to Monica Matoush, spokeswoman for the committee's Democratic majority.

“The committee cannot formally organize until leadership from both the majority and minority have named the full list of members,” she said. “It has become clear that full committee membership will not be finalized before Thursday’s scheduled hearing to discuss civilian control of the military with the Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin. As such, we cannot yet convene our committee organization meeting or formally conduct committee business like a hearing. Once members have been named and the committee has been organized, we will proceed.”

Meanwhile, Austin is slated to appear today before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his nomination hearing.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) has said he supports Austin’s nomination and has introduced a legislative waiver that would allow the retired general to serve as defense secretary.

Though the Senate must confirm presidential appointees, the full Congress must grant Austin a special waiver to serve as defense secretary because he has been retired from the military for fewer than seven years.