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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been called to testify before the House Armed Services Committee regarding the circumstances surrounding his recent hospitalization and the ensuing lack of communication with key government figures.

In a letter dated Thursday, Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-OH) set the hearing for February 14th. The letter emphasizes the need for Austin’s direct testimony to address concerns about the withholding of information from the President, Congress, and the public.


Rogers expressed alarm over Austin’s refusal to clarify whether he instructed his staff to keep his hospitalization a secret, including from President Biden. Rogers stated, “Congress must understand what happened and who made decisions to prevent the disclosure of the whereabouts of a cabinet secretary.” He also urged Austin to promptly answer all outstanding questions ahead of the hearing.

This call for testimony comes amid criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a member of the Armed Services Committee, suggested punitive action against Austin, saying, “It’s up to the president as to whether he fires Secretary Austin… I would fire him in about five minutes.” Despite these criticisms, President Biden has maintained his confidence in Austin.

More on the hospitalization:
Austin’s hospitalization at Walter Reed National Medical Center was related to complications from a December surgery for prostate cancer. Following his release on Monday, Austin expressed gratitude for the well-wishes and his eagerness to resume full duties at the Pentagon.


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