April 27, 2021
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, lead Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined all Republicans present in voting to reject the nomination of Dr. Colin Kahl to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Kahl’s nomination was approved by the Senate, 49-45.
Kahl is President Biden’s first nominee not to earn a single Republican vote, highlighting how extreme his nomination was and how it broke decades of bipartisan precedent for nominees for top Department of Defense (DOD) positions.
“The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy position has always, until now, received bipartisan support during the confirmation process. That Dr. Kahl did not garner a single Republican vote — that is really saying something,” Inhofe said. “While I’m disappointed with the outcome, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to defend this country. I vow to work in good faith with Dr. Kahl and his team, as I do with every Senate-confirmed official at the Department of Defense. In turn, I hope Dr. Kahl intends to do the same — to work closely with all members of the Senate, not just the ones with a ‘D’ next to their name. I hope his apology before the committee was sincere and that he approaches this job with better judgment, commitment to bipartisanship and respect than he’s demonstrated so far.
“In his inaugural address, President Biden called for unity. Now, he needs to show that he means it by submitting more balanced candidates for these critical national security jobs. Department of Defense nominees should easily find bipartisan support — they always have before. I hope Dr. Kahl is an outlier.”
As Sen. Inhofe pointed out in his floor statement, recorded votes on DOD nominees are rare, and since 1981 — until today — every nominee for top DOD positions received bipartisan support. President Biden’s first two DOD nominees were confirmed quickly with near-unanimous support: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was confirmed 93-2; Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was confirmed on a voice vote.