The Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBiden pledges to end ‘scourge of sexual assault in the military’The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Johns Hopkins University – CDC announces long-awaited guidelines for fully vaccinated AmericansWill Lloyd Austin stand up to the generals?MORE will reach out to Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBiden against making changes to filibuster, Psaki saysGoldman Sachs projects jobless rate falling to 4.1 percentNatural gas and America’s clean energy transitionMORE (D-W.V.), a tiebreaker vote Democrats need to confirm Colin Kahl, President BidenJoe BidenCNN: Bidens’ dogs removed from the White HouseFederal judge rules ‘QAnon shaman’ too dangerous to be released from jailPelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her careerMORE’s nominee for Pentagon policy chief.
The secretary is planning to have a conversation with Sen. Manchin today. Im not going to talk about the details of conversations between the secretary and individual members of Congress, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
Kirby said he did not know of any other discussions Austin might have with other members of Congress.
Republican senators last week during Kahls nomination hearing tore into him over his past Twitter activity, which in recent years was critical of the Trump administration.
Politico first reported that the administration was seeking Manchins support, with the White House directing Austin to reach out to the West Virginia Democrat.
Manchin has not publicly commented on Kahls nomination and did not attend his confirmation hearing last week. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manchins vote is seen as critical in confirming Kahl to the third most powerful civilian role at the Pentagon. If he does not support the nominee, the administration would need a Republican senator to vote for Kahl in the 50-50 Senate.
But he was the lone Democrat to oppose Neera TandenNeera TandenOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden’s Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotelsWhite House says Shalanda Young could serve as acting OMB directorRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear dealMORE, Bidens nominee to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Manchin pulled his support over her past inflammatory tweets she had written about Republicans and progressive Democrats alike in her previous role heading the Center for American Progress think tank.
Tanden later withdrew her nomination after concerns she did not have enough votes to be confirmed.
Like Tanden, Republican senators lambasted Kahl over his past Twitter activity.
What concerns me here is that hyper-partisanship, especially in regards to our national security, is inappropriate for the position of under secretary of Defense for policy, said Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden’s Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotelsTop Republican: ‘Outrageous’ to extend National Guard deployment at CapitolRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear dealMORE (R-Okla.). Unfortunately, in the past, in many cases, your public policy positions have been couched in partisan politics rather than fact-based analysis.
Kahl during the hearing apologized for the disrespectful language in his tweets, saying he got swept up in a polarizing online environment during the Trump administration.
There were a number of positions that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump vows ‘No more money for RINOS,’ instead encouraging donations to his PACFederal judge rules ‘QAnon shaman’ too dangerous to be released from jailPelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her careerMORE took that I strongly opposed. I think the language that I used in opposing those was sometimes disrespectful, and for that I apologize, he said.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, held fast to the nomination, stressing that Austin looks forward to having Dr. Kahl installed as the undersecretary of Defense for policy and urges the Senate to give him a vote so we can get him on board, according to Kirby.
I think Mr. Kahl also spoke pretty eloquently about his Twitter habits in his hearing and I think made clear his respect for members of Congress of both parties and spoke to his Twitter activity and I think that Ill leave it there, he said.