Congressman Steven Horsford’s Statement and Floor Remarks in Support of Secretary-designate General Lloyd Austin’s Historic Nomination to Lead the Department of Defense

January 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.— Today, Congressman Steven Horsford issued the following statement on the House vote to grant Secretary-designate General Lloyd Austin a waiver to serve as Secretary of Defense. If confirmed by the Senate, Secretary-designate General Austin would be the first African American leader of the Defense Department. 

“Secretary-designate General Austin’s historic nomination sends a powerful message of belonging to servicemembers of color, who make up more than forty percent of our Armed Forces,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “With his decades of distinguished leadership in the U.S. Army, I am confident that he will be able to defend our national security and strengthen our alliances on the global stage.” 

“With four major military installations in my district – including Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases, the Nevada Test and Training Range, and the Hawthorne Army Depot – I know the importance of having a strong voice for our servicemembers at the helm of our Armed Forces. 

“Prior to today’s vote, I had the opportunity to speak directly with the Secretary-designate. He committed to work with me to strengthen housing, mental health care, childcare, and educational opportunities for servicemembers and their families in Nevada’s Fourth District. I trust that he has the experience and track record to lead the Defense Department with distinction.” 

Before the vote, Congressman Horsford delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the waiver. His remarks highlighted Secretary-designate General Austin’s historic nomination, impressive credentials, and global leadership. The full remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be viewed below. 

Speaker, I rise today to speak in favor of granting a waiver for retired Army General Lloyd Austin’s historic nomination to serve as the 28th Secretary of Defense, the first African American in US history. 

For four decades, Secretary-designate Austin served our nation valiantly in the U.S. Army. 

Before retiring, he led one of the most important Commands in the military – CENTCOM – or Central Command, where he oversaw America’s military strategy and joint operations throughout the Middle East. 

During his service in the Middle East, he oversaw the safe return of 150,000 brave American troops, working closely with our allies as a statesman and a diplomat. 

I support President Biden and his selection of Lloyd Austin to protect our national security, strengthen our global alliances, depoliticize the Defense Department, and be a leader and role model for our brave servicemembers. 

I had the opportunity to speak directly with Secretary-designate Austin about the needs of servicemembers and their families in Nevada’s Fourth District. He committed to work with me on issues important to the servicemembers and their families stationed at Nellie and Creech Air Force Bases and the Nevada Test and Training Range, ranging from housing, mental health, childcare and education, that I know impact our servicemembers and their families and their ability to serve our country effectively.  

His leadership, experience, and knowledge of the Defense Department will ensure our country meets its national security needs. His leadership as our Secretary of Defense will also send a powerful message of belonging to service members of color, who represent more than forty percent of our Armed Forces. 

I urge my colleagues to support this historic nomination, approve the waiver required, and confirm Secretary-designate Austin’s nomination. 

A video of Congressman Horsford’s remarks on the House floor can be viewed here

 As chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ First 100 Days Transition Task Force, Congressman Horsford has worked closely with the Biden-Harris transition team to ensure that the leadership of the federal government reflects the diversity of the people. To date, his work with the Biden-Harris transition team has led to the nomination of 19 Black Americans for key positions in the Biden-Harris administration. 



Geneva Kropper | | 202-849-0251