Authored by Jana J. Pruet via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
House Republicans have approved an amendment to slash U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s annual salary to no more than $1. The move comes as Congress remains in a gridlock over the budget, which could lead to a government shutdown.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Wednesday introduced the measure, which was approved in a voice vote as part of the 2024 fiscal year appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). (pdf)
"I'm proud to let you know my amendment to FIRE Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin just passed on the House floor," Ms. Greene wrote on X following the amendment's passage.
“Under his failed leadership, our military is being destroyed, and he doesn’t deserve to serve any longer. This is the first time in the 118th Congress the Holman rule has been used to hold a Biden official accountable. It’s time for more," she continued.
The Holman Rule is a provision that allows members of Congress to reduce the salary, fire federal employees, or cut specific programs during the appropriations process. The provision was first adopted in 1876. It has been dropped and reinstated at various times since its inception. Earlier this year, the GOP-led House revived the measure for the 118th Congress. The order was not adopted for the 116th and 117th Congresses. (pdf)
"Secretary Austin has not fulfilled his job duties," Ms. Greene said on the House floor. "As a matter of fact, he's destroying our military. During Secretary Austin's tenure, military recruitment has reached crisis levels of low recruitment."
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) spoke in opposition to the move, citing Mr. Austin's decades-long military career.
"Secretary Austin has dedicated his life to service in the United States," Ms. McCollum said in a speech on the House floor. "For 41 years, he has served in the United States Army, which began as an appointment to West Point and rose to the rank of four-star general."
Mr. Austin, who led the withdrawal from Afghanistan, has an annual salary of more than $221,000.
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay Defense Secretary Lloyd James Austin III a salary that exceeds $1,” the provision reads. (pdf)
Ms. Greene, along with other conservatives in the House, has frequently criticized Mr. Austin's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. More than 180 people, including 13 service members, were killed by suicide bombers at Kabul Airport during the evacuation that marked the disastrous end of the 20-year war against terror.
Austin Faces Impeachment
The Pentagon chief is also facing impeachment for "high crimes and misdemeanors" regarding his actions leading up to and during the military's exodus from Afghanistan.
Late last month, Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) introduced articles of impeachment accusing Mr. Austin of "dereliction of duty including and resulting in abandonment of Americans in Afghanistan."
"It's not enough for Congress to hold committee hearings," Mr. Mills said in a news release on Aug. 28. "We must start taking real action to address the complete failure of this administration."
In December 2020, then-president-elect Joe Biden nominated Mr. Austin, who was retired at the time, to lead the Defense Department. He accepted the nomination and was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 22, 2021, in a vote of 93–2.
"Despite having nearly 8 months as Secretary of Defense to prepare for and execute a smooth and orderly departure from Afghanistan, Secretary Austin failed to adequately prepare for such a withdrawal, including through his decisions during the catastrophic events of July and August 2021, which initially resulted in as many as 9,000 Americans being abandoned in Afghanistan," reads House Resolution 666. (pdf)
"These actions recklessly abandoned the interests, security, and values of the United States of America and contributed to the unnecessary deaths of 13 United States servicemembers as well as uncounted American civilians who were targeted and murdered by the Taliban," the document continues.
Earlier this year, the State Department released its "After Action Review on Afghanistan," which analyzed the decisions made between January and August leading up to the withdrawal (pdf). More than 150 voluntary interviews with current and former State Department officials, along with "relevant" documents and other materials, were compiled for the report.
The report states that decisions by the Trump and Biden administrations contributed to the disastrous situation in Afghanistan.
"The decisions of both President [Donald] Trump and President Biden to end the U.S. military mission posed significant challenges for the Department as it sought to maintain a robust diplomatic and assistance presence in Kabul and provide continued support to the Afghan government and people," reads the report.