WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after Senate votes on the nominations of James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense and John Kelly to be Secretary of Homeland Security.
Senator Merkley voted ‘yes’ on Mattis’s nomination and ‘no’ on Kelly’s nomination.
“James Mattis will bring a thoughtful and stabilizing presence to this administration. I am concerned about maintaining our important tradition of civilian control of the military, which is why I voted against the waiver on the requirement that the Defense Secretary be out of the military for at least seven years before serving in this civilian position. However, now that the waiver has been granted, I am supporting his nomination as someone who will bring much needed experience and stature to national security deliberations.
“Unfortunately, I could not support the nomination of John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly has refused to make a commitment that the federal government will not use the information of DREAMers who applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program against them, including potentially deporting them. DREAMers who came out from the shadows under DACA were given a promise by our government that this information would not be used against them, and that is a promise we must absolutely keep. These are young men and women who know no other home than America and who are making tremendous contributions to our state and our nation. Deporting them or threatening them in any way would be both morally wrong and economically counterproductive, and more fundamentally, America must keep its word. Because of his refusal to commit to keeping our nation’s promise to them, I voted ‘no’ on Kelly’s nomination.”