Esper's nomination hearing slated for Tuesday

By Tony Bertuca  
July 11, 2019 at 1:00 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee announced today it intends to hold a nomination hearing Tuesday for acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom President Trump has chosen to run the Pentagon.

The committee has received "pre-nomination paperwork" from the Trump administration and will "expedite the process" to hold Esper's hearing, according to a statement from the panel.

Committee rules normally require seven days between receiving a formal nomination and voting to advance the nominee to the full Senate.

"Given the exigencies of the situation, the committee will waive the seven-day rule for Dr. Esper's nomination," according to the panel's announcement.

Esper became acting defense secretary last month when then acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, amid reports of past violent incidents involving his son and ex-wife, withdrew himself from consideration.

"We need Senate-confirmed leadership at the Pentagon, and quickly," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said in the statement.

"While we will act expeditiously to consider acting Secretary Esper's expected nomination, the Committee will uphold our constitutional advice-and-consent responsibilities with the care and consideration this position deserves," said Chairman Inhofe. "Next week's hearing will give committee members the chance to ask questions of the expected nominee and learn more about how he will work to lead the Pentagon, advocate for service members, support the National Defense Strategy and keep American families safe."

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), the committee’s ranking member, said there would be no "shortcuts" for Esper, despite the expedited process.

"We need a confirmed secretary of defense who is effective, efficient, and accountable and in it for the long-haul," Reed said. "This hearing will give us a chance to learn more about the nominee, publicly ask questions, and fulfill the Senate's constitutional role of providing advice and consent."