Congressman Casten Statement on Waiver Vote for General Austin

January 21, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement after he voted against granting General Lloyd J. Austin, III a waiver to serve as United States Secretary of Defense. 

Casten said, “General Austin is eminently qualified for this job. His historic nomination as the first African American Secretary of Defense is even more consequential in light of the scourge of white supremacy that has grown like a cancer in our nation and quite nearly ushered in the final chapter of our American experiment. General Austin’s nomination sends a strong signal to those with contempt for equality that their values have no place in our country and I urge the Senate to vote to confirm him.

“However, I believe that civilian control of our military forces is a cardinal principle of American democracy. After four years of a President that bulldozed our democratic institutions, we now have a responsibility to repair and rebuild them.  Civilian control is a central tenet dating back to George Washington, who understood the grave risk of a King – or President – who might use the military to do their political bidding. In the wake of the violent insurrection on January 6, we now have an all too deep understanding of that risk. Today’s vote was not simply to confirm General Austin, but rather whether to waive an important check on those safeguards. While I deeply respect General Austin, I believe that this is a time we should be bolstering, not reducing protections to ensure our military remains under civilian control.”