GOP Sen. John McCain threatened yet again to hold up Pentagon nominees until he gets answers from the Army about a recent decision to make it easier for recruits with a history of self-mutilation to receive waivers.
McCain, who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said he was disturbed to read reports in the news about the Army’s quiet decision in August to decrease the authority to issue a waiver for recruits with troubled backgrounds from Army headquarters to Army Recruiting Command, Inside Defense reports.
Part of the point of giving Army Recruiting Command the authority to issue waivers is that the Army has a recruitment goal of 80,000 troops by September 2018.
For McCain, hearing about the news in the press, as opposed to receiving a brief from the Army on the issue is intolerable enough to threaten a hold on Trump nominees until he gets answers. McCain has threatened holds multiple times over the last few months to induce the Trump administration to deliver briefings on issues he deems important.
“This committee has not been briefed,” McCain said. “Frankly, it’s a problem this committee is having with this administration. We should have been told about this before it showed up in a USA Today article. The Army did not respond to a question of how many waivers, if any, have been issued since the policy was changed.”
McCain explicitly said he would “stop confirming people for jobs” unless the Army provides him with more information about its decision.
He also wondered aloud about the point of giving waivers to recruits with backgrounds of self-mutilation.
“Self-mutilation is something that comes home to roost,” he said. “Someone who self mutilates, I don’t understand the eligibility there.”
The Center for Military Readiness, a right-leaning military policy organization, has already come out against the change, saying the Army should not be issuing waivers at all for this kind of behavior and also that the military should think deeply about why qualified recruits, as opposed to recruits with serious mental issues, are not signing up in sufficient quantities.
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