Update, February 17, 2:05 p.m.: Sen. John Cornyn's office has sent out a press release, explaining the senator's hold on Lippert's nomination. "Earlier today Sen. Cornyn placed a hold on the nomination of Mark W. Lippert, a former aide to President Obama, to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. In November Sen. Cornyn sent a letter to the President requesting a plan to address Taiwan’s aging fleet of fighter jets. The Administration finally responded yesterday, but failed to adequately address Sen. Cornyn’s underlying concerns."
Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R., Tex.) has placed a hold on the nomination of Mark Lippert, the Obama administration’s former chief-of-staff for the National Security Council.
Lippert, a longtime administration official who was forced out of the White House by former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, was tapped last year to become the next assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Pentagon’s top post in the region.
Lippert’s nomination was reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier today. But shortly after, Cornyn placed a hold on the process.
Cornyn’s office confirmed the hold this afternoon but did not immediately explain the reason.
Lippert’s nomination had been previously been opposed by Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), who lifted his own hold earlier this month.
"Your actions while working at the NSC are an important indicator of your fundamental qualification to carry out the duties of the critically important position for which you have been nominated," McCain wrote, reported Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin at the time.
Lippert became an Obama confidant early in the president’s Senate career, and followed then-candidate Obama into the White House.
As Josh Rogin reported, Lippert "was a key figure in Obama's presidential campaign and served as chief of staff of the National Security Council (NSC), a position that had not existed in George W. Bush's administration but which Obama resurrected in 2009."