U.S. House set to back waiver allowing Austin to serve as defense secretary

FILE PHOTO: President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Defense Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin answers questions during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The majority of the U.S. House of Representatives backed a waiver on Thursday that will allow Lloyd Austin to serve as President Joe Biden’s secretary of defense, despite having retired as an Army general in 2016.

Voting continued on waiving a provision of a law on civilian control of the U.S. military that requires a seven-year wait after retirement before active-duty military can lead the Department of Defense.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Daphne Psaledakis and Richard Cowan