McCain threatens to again block Trump's DOD nominees

By Tony Bertuca / November 14, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) says he remains troubled by the lack of communication coming from the Trump administration and is threatening to block Pentagon nominees until he is briefed by the Army on a newly relaxed recruiting policy that would allow individuals with mental health issues to serve.

The new recruiting policy, first reported by USA Today, has been established to help the Army add 80,000 troops by September 2018.

McCain, who presided Tuesday over a hearing for three Trump administration nominees, said he was displeased to first learn of the new policy from a daily newspaper.

"This committee has not been briefed," he said. "Frankly, it's a problem this committee is having with this administration. We should have been told about this."

McCain, who held up several Trump nominees last month until he could be briefed to his satisfaction on the administration's approach to Afghanistan, said he would "stop confirming people for jobs" if the Army did not communicate with him and the committee on its new recruiting policy.

"The United States Army will not respond to us," he said.

The committee's top Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed (RI), said he agreed with McCain.

"We cannot sacrifice quality for quantity -- it's that simple," Reed said.