House Armed Services Committee Leaders Request Information on Secretary Austin’s Health Issue

Leaders of the House Armed Services Committee have fired off a terse demand for information on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s ill health — and a days-long delay that kept White House and congressional officials in the dark.

In a joint announcement, committeem Chair Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and ranking member Adam Smith, D-Wash., wrote that they were “concerned with how the disclosure” of Austin’s illness was handled.

“Several questions remain unanswered including what the medical procedure and resulting complications were, what the Secretary’s current health status is, how and when the delegation of the Secretary’s responsibilities were made, and the reason for the delay in notification to the President and Congress,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Transparency is vitally important,” the lawmakers stated, requesting that Austin, 70, “provide these additional details on his health and the decision-making process that occurred in the past week as soon as possible.”

On Sunday, Austin was still at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, with Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder explaining that after an unnamed medical procedure on Dec. 22, Austin had suffered severe pain at home and was admitted to the intensive care unit of Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Jan. 1.

Shockingly, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks didn’t get the news until Jan. 4. Ryder said Austin’s chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, was herself ill and “unable to make notifications before then.” He said she informed Hicks and the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, on Thursday, who then told President Joe Biden.

Austin, 70, remains hospitalized and officials haven’t said how long he’ll be at Walter Reed.

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