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Blumenthal Supports Confirmation of General Mattis, Opposes General Kelly for Key National Security Posts

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted today to approve the nomination of General James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense, but voted in opposition to General John Kelly to be Secretary of Homeland Security.

“I voted for General Mattis today because we are living in turbulent and challenging times – and this new Administration needs his stable tested judgement to provide balance and insight. As a former servicemember, General Mattis holds a deep appreciation of the need for cautious debate and strategic deliberation before employing military power. His experience and perspective is necessary to help ensure steady national security leadership,” Blumenthal said.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for General Kelly and his dedicated and courageous service to our nation, and I will be supportive in his important work as Secretary of Homeland Security. But I felt that a ‘no’ vote on General Kelly was necessary to focus on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, and particularly the situation of Dreamers in Connecticut and around the country who are understandably apprehensive about their situation. I am seeking guarantees that personal information that they’ve submitted to the government in good faith will not be used against them in initiating deportation proceedings after they have spent much of their lives in this country.”

Last week, Blumenthal cast a vote against legislation that would allow a one-time exception to waive the “cooling off period” for recently retired military officers for the Secretary of Defense, noting that his vote “was about the principle, not the individual” and warning that “we cannot allow the exception to swallow the rule.” This legislation was required in order to approve the nomination of General Mattis. It passed Congress last week and was signed into law today. Blumenthal voted in support of the nomination of General Mattis during the Senate Armed Services Committee vote earlier this week.