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U.S. Congress approved the waiver needed for Lloyd Austin to serve as President Joe Biden’s defense secretary, a key step toward making the retired Army general the first Black leader of the Pentagon.

The House of Representatives voted 326-78 on Thursday to pass the waiver exempting Austin, who left the military in 2016, from a law that bars officers from the Defense Department’s top civilian post for seven years after retiring. The Senate swiftly followed with a vote of 69-27.

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