WASHINGTON — 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,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients wrote in a memo sent to the rest of the Cabinet on Friday. The memo was obtained by The Associated Press.
Zients noted that some existing guidelines among agencies differed because of various laws, regulations and executive orders.
But “through this process we are assured that all agencies have a set of standard protocols they must follow in the event of a delegation of authority,” he wrote.
From now on, Cabinet agencies…