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House Clears Waiver for James Mattis’ Appointment as Defense Secretary

The House voted 268-151 Friday to pass a congressional waiver that would permit retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department under the Trump administration once he is confirmed, The Hill newspaper reported Friday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a press briefing Friday that President Barack Obama will sign the legislation if Congress passes the measure before the president’s term ends, Rebecca Kheel wrote.

Mattis retired in 2013 and needs a waiver that will exempt him from a law that requires former military officials to wait seven years after retirement from active duty to serve as U.S. defense secretary, according to Kheel.

The Senate approved the waiver in an 81-17 vote Thursday.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said there are “legitimate” concerns on the process and wording of the waiver but lawmakers need to approve the measure to prevent a gap in Defense Department leadership, Politico reported.

Mattis still have to gain full Senate confirmation to become DoD’s civilian leader, according to the report by Connor O’Brien and Jeremy Herb.

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