In a rare moment of bipartisanship amongst lawmakers in Washington, the Senate overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee for chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley. The 89-2 vote is a welcomed reprieve from the partisan gridlock that has enveloped Congress in recent weeks, especially in regards to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
The confirmation marks a major win for the Biden administration, as General Milley was the first of Biden’s key military appointments to receive Senate approval. Genral Milley replaces Army General, and former Trump appointee, Mark A. Milley.
Until recently, the confirmation had been in limbo due to a blockade put in place by Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Tuberville had been refusing to allow the nomination to move forward until the Senate had passed legislation that would provide federal funding for the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. However, after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Tuberville agreed to lift the blockade.
General Milley’s confirmation has been praised by members from both sides of the aisle. Senator John Thune of South Dakota congratulated Milley on his confirmation and said that he is confident that the General will “watch over the safety and security of our nation and our armed forces”.
The only bipartisan progress that the Senate has seen in the past few weeks makes the confirmation of General Milley a refreshing respite for a divided Congress. MILley’s extensive experience in military matters should prove invaluable to the Biden administration as it battles the current COVID-19 crisis. Time will tell if this moment of cooperation in Washington is a sign of better days ahead.