Senate confirms Austin as Defense Secretary

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon, making him nation's first Black secretary of defense in a 93-2 vote. (Jan. 22)

Video Transcript

MAZIE HIRONO: Are there any senators wishing to vote or change their vote? If not, the yeas are 93, the nays are two, and the nomination is confirmed. Under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. And the president will be immediately notified of the Senate's actions.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Mr. Austin has a storied career in the army. But those days are behind him. As Secretary of Defense, he promised to empower and lift up his civilian staff. And I believe he will be an outstanding Secretary of Defense for everyone at the Pentagon, service members and civilian employees alike. The Secretary of Defense, of course, has a hugely important task ahead of him.

He must once again demonstrate to the world that the US military will always support our friends, deter our adversaries, and if necessary, defeat them. Lloyd Austin is the right person for the job. He has the experience, the vision, and the competence to run the largest agency in our government.

MITCH MCCONNELL: So nevertheless, I'll vote today to confirm a clear patriot with an impressive career. But I'll cast that vote with the understanding that our new Secretary of Defense specifically commits to balancing civil military relations, empowering civilian leaders at the Pentagon, and playing an active role in the inherently political budget process to get our forces what they need. Our intensifying competition with China and Russia and all the other threats we face demand nothing less.