Dems Divided on How to Handle Mattis Nomination

Dems Divided on How to Handle Mattis Nomination
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Democrats are divided over how to handle the nomination of retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to take over the Department of Defense, with a critical waiver vote quickly approaching on the legislative calendar.

President-elect Donald Trump named Mattis, a 66-year-old popular general known for colorful quotes and a scholarly approach to military conflict, as his pick for the next defense secretary in early December.

But his 44-year Marine Corps career ended in 2013, meaning he'll need a waiver from Congress to get around rules mandating a seven-year wait between military service and taking over the top Pentagon job.

Republicans have signaled no qualms about granting that exception, but Democrats have voiced concerns about undermining safeguards designed to reinforce the concept of civilian control of the military.

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