The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Thursday current Army Secretary Dr. Mark Esper to become the next permanent defense chief and Army Gen. Mark Milley to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs, according to a committee press release.
The nominations for the two senior Pentagon officials advanced on a voice vote during a closed-door session that included hundreds of other military nominations, The Hill reported.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only known committee member to oppose Esper’s nomination, telling reporters later she requested to be recorded as a “no” on the voice vote.
The GOP-led Senate now seeks to quickly hold a floor vote for Esper’s confirmation to lead the Pentagon. The top DOD post has been performed by an acting secretary since January after former Secretary James Mattis resigned.
Later Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture Thursday afternoon on Esper’s nomination. That move has set up a Monday procedural vote which is expected to pass easily, followed with a final confirmation vote by Wednesday, CQ reported.
Milley’s committee vote was grouped with the other Pentagon nominees, Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, according to the report.
“The bottom line is, they’re both going to be confirmed,” Inhofe said.
The committee has also announced it has scheduled a confirmation hearing next Wednesday for current DOD comptroller David Norquist to become deputy defense secretary, a role he has also filled in an acting capacity since January.
As with Esper’s confirmation hearing, the committee waived a procedural seven-day waiting period between receipt of Norquist’s nomination and Wednesday’s scheduled confirmation hearing, which has been set for 10:00 a.m. EST.
Photo by John G. Martinez