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Congress clears way to let Mattis run Pentagon

James Mattis and Capitol building background
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 18:23:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress is sending the White House a bill to let retired Marine Gen. James Mattis run the Pentagon in the Trump administration.

The House passed the bill on a vote of 268-151.

A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama would sign the bill if Congress passed it before he leaves office.

The measure grants a one-time exception for Mattis from a law that bars former service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top Pentagon job.

The restriction is meant to preserve civilian control of the military. The 66-year-old Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013.

The Senate overwhelmingly cleared the bill on Thursday.