Lloyd Austin hospitalization spurs changes in Joe Biden administration protocols

Written notification of 'delegation of authority' is now required.

 The White House is laying out a new set of guidelines to ensure it will be informed any time a Cabinet head can’t carry out their job after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s secret hospitalization this month was kept for days from President Joe Biden and his top aides.

The new guidelines include a half-dozen instructions for Cabinet agencies to follow when there is a “delegation of authority,” or when secretaries temporarily transfer their authority to a deputy when unreachable due to medical issues, travel or other reasons. White House chief of staff Jeff Zients launched a review of existing notification procedures earlier this month shortly after Austin’s hospitalization was disclosed, along with the Pentagon’s failure to immediately alert the White House.

“Through your submissions, you demonstrated your commitment to notifying the White House in the event of a delegation – and upon assumption of a delegation, establishing contact with the White House,” Zients wrote in a memo sent to the rest of the Cabinet on Friday. The memo was obtained by The Associated Press.

From now on, Cabinet agencies must notify the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Zients’ office when they’re anticipating a delegation of authority and again when the delegation actually happens. It must also put in writing that the delegation is in effect and once that delegation has ended.

Once the interim leader has assumed authority, that person must contact his or her primary counterpart at the White House and the agency must follow any other notifications that are required under law — such as informing key lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Agencies should ensure that authority is transferred when a Cabinet official is “traveling to areas with limited or no access to communication, undergoing hospitalization or a medical procedure requiring general anesthesia, or otherwise in a circumstance when he or she may be unreachable,” the memo reads.

Associated Press

One comment

  • Impeach Biden

    January 27, 2024 at 5:53 pm

    Cracking down Joe. First he said he will close the border, after allowing nearly 10 million illegals in. Now he wants to know where his people are. I think Joe is lost personally and needs an escort 24-7. Now the spin begins.

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